Panther wins Pro Bowl MVP

Former Notre Dame and Elder football standout, Kyle Rudolph, won the 2013 Pro Bowl MVP in Hawaii on January 27. Rudolph was selected shortly after the NFC title game and did not disappoint. After all he has accomplished he may be hailed as the best in the history of Elder football. Just seven days before the Pro Bowl, tight end Tony Gonzales, backed out due to injuries he sustained during the season. The Minnesota Viking tight end took the opening in the game and impressed some viewers. Rudolph recorded five receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. Rudolph was a key factor in the blowout victory over the AFC, 62-35. Rudolph shows incredible signs of improvement from year to year as he has literally double if not tripled his stats from his rookie year. Kyle had double the receiving yards, triple the amount of receiving touchdowns, and also triple the amount of first downs. He hasn’t had the stats like some of the other Pro Bowl veterans but every catch was always impressive. In his rookie year, it seemed like Rudolph was making top ten plays left and right. He was awarded best rookie for the Vikings in 2011. His talents would spill over into the next season as he would make these amazing, acrobatic catches that would just amaze Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Elder fans everywhere, but they were not the only one who noticed. Kyle was selected as the fill-in for the Pro Bowl behind Gonzales. Originally the Falcons had to go to the Super Bowl in order for Rudolph to head out to Hawaii. Instead, the 49ers won but eventually Gonzales pulled himself out. It seems the more opportunities he had, the more Kyle has stepped up. Rudolph has been rising to the level of his challenges since his career began at Elder. As a Panther, Rudolph was a three year starter and had a total of 21 touchdowns, 1035 receiving yards (623 yards in his senior year), and 73 receptions. From these amazing stats came full ride scholarship offers to places like Louisville, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio State. A scholarship offer by Charlie Weis would seal the deal as Rudolph would commit to Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, Rudolph would be a clutch target in many Irish victories. One that comes to my mind is the game winning touchdown vs. Purdue from Jimmy Clausen back in 2009. Going into his junior year, Rudolph received a hamstring injury which sidelined him for the remainder his junior year and his career at ND. After three years of green and gold, Rudolph would elect to enter the NFL draft. Going into the draft as one of the top tight ends, Kyle would be selected 43 rd overall in the second round and from there we all know the rest. Rudolph invited friends, assistant head coach Craig James, Kyle’s former high school coach, and his parents out to Hawaii to see him play in the Pro Bowl. “He was so awesome for flying Dan and I out here … We have never been here before. It is so beautiful here and to meet all of the other players and their families!” said Rudolph’s mother, Mrs. Jamie Rudolph. Rudolph put on a show for all the fans and viewers, which should hopefully satisfy an angry Roger Goodell. At 6’-8” and 250 lbs., he was an unstoppable force in the Pro Bowl. No defensive back, even the best of the AFC, could come close to Rudolph. When Kyle won the MVP, people went insane! “People are going crazy and are so proud of him … Everyone is texting us and using social media to congratulate us … The west side is super supportive … It’s awesome,” said Mrs. Rudolph. People from the west side went nuts congratulating the Rudolph family. The hard work and dedication of Rudolph has paid off to make him one of the most effective tight ends in the NFL just two years into his pro career. Responses from family members show the appreciation of a local Cincinnati family, now in the local spotlight. “It feels awesome, I am so blessed and I am so happy for him he has worked so hard for it and he deserves it,” said sister Kori Rudolph, a student at Our Lady of Visitation. “It’s unbelievable… So crazy… We are so proud of him… Just to get here was an honor and to get MVP on top of that feels like I’m dreaming,” Mrs. Rudolph added. Kyle Rudolph is an example of not only a man who Elder shaped, but a man who shaped Elder. We all know these guys. They are the ones who are nominated for the Altiora award; Elder is made by these kinds of great men. They are men who leave behind a legacy, men who fight overseas, and men who take their athleticism to the next level.