Safety Tom Zbikowski is one of four Notre Dame players scheduled to attend.

Four Former Irish Football Players Ready for NFL Combine

Feb. 20, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Four former Notre Dame football players will be in attendance when the NFL Scouting Combine kicks off in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Tight end John Carlson, defensive lineman Trevor Laws, center John Sullivan and safety Tom Zbikowski are scheduled to take part in various tests and drills while interviewing with teams at the annual event.

Over 300 draft-eligible players have been invited by the NFL to be evaluated by front office executives, coaches and scouts from all 32 teams. The NFL Combine runs until Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the RCA Dome.

One of the most prolific receiving tight ends in school history, Carlson recorded 100 receptions for 1,093 yards and eight TDs in his Notre Dame career. His 100 catches are the second-most ever by an Irish tight end while his receiving yards total ranks third all-time. The Litchfield, Minn. native was a four-year letterwinner who started in 31 of the 47 career games he appeared including all 23 games over the last two seasons. Carlson is one of the top student-athletes in school history as he was named a first-team Academic All-American in 2006, a second-team Academic All-American in 2007 and a National Scholar-Athlete in 2007.

The legacy of Laws will be as one of the most productive and versatile defensive linemen in school history. He finished his career at Notre Dame with 224 tackles, including 10 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and six blocked kicks. Since Notre Dame began keeping tackle stats in 1956, Laws ranks sixth in career tackles by a defensive lineman and became only the second Irish defensive lineman since 1981 to eclipse 200 tackles during his career (Chris Zorich, 219, 1988-90). A product of Burnsville, Minn., Laws played in 49 games over his career at Notre Dame, starting 37 contests – including every game over his final three seasons. He was a four-year letterwinner who capped off his Irish career by being named Team MVP in 2007 after recording a career-best 112 tackles (second-most by a defensive lineman in school history).

Sullivan finished his career having played in 47 games and started 43 of those contests. He started 31 straight games from 2005 until the 11th game of the 2007 season and helped block for a 1,000-yard rusher from 2004-06 and protected a 3,000-yard passer in 2005 and 2006. Raised in Old Greenwich, Conn., Sullivan represented the offensive line on the football team’s leadership committee and served as captain of the team in 2007. He was named the team’s fifth captain just prior to the start of the season based on the leadership he exemplified during the ’07 offseason.

One of the most exciting and electric players in school history and a true fan favorite, Zbikowski will be remembered as one of the top safeties and punt returners in Notre Dame annals. He saw action in 48 career games — starting every one — and finished his career with 300 tackles, eighth-most in school history. Zbikowski became the eighth Notre Dame player to ever reach the 300-tackle plateau and holds the career record holder for tackles by an Irish defensive back, shattering the previous school record of 228 by Jim Browner (1976-78). The Arlington Heights, Ill., product is one of the most mentioned players in Notre Dame’s record book. He owns the school record for career fumble return yards (100), scored seven career touchdowns (three punt returns, two interception returns and two fumble returns), shares the school record for career fumble returns for touchdown (2), career punt returns for touchdown (3) and single-season interceptions returned for touchdowns (2, 2005). Zbikowski was involved in a total of 19 career turnovers (seven forced fumbles, eight interceptions, four fumble recoveries) and is tied for most career punt returns for a touchdown in school history (Tim Brown, Nick Rassas, Allen Rossum, Ricky Watters are the others). His 199 career interception return yards ranks sixth-best all-time and he ranks fourth for career kick/punt returns for touchdowns (3). He was twice named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press (2005 and 2006) and earned second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2006. Zbikowski was a rare two-year captain at Notre Dame and was also a member of the team’s leadership committee in 2006 and 2007.