Jan. 14, 2005
University of Notre Dame senior defensive end Justin Tuck has decided to pass up his final year of eligibility and to make himself available for the 2005 National Football League Draft, Tuck announced Friday afternoon.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to make myself eligible for selection in the upcoming NFL Draft and will not return to Notre Dame for a fifth season,” Tuck said. “The coaching staff at Notre Dame did a great job preparing me for the NFL. Coach Willingham and Coach Mattison, along with the rest of the staff, have been a very positive influence in my personal growth on and off the field. I know that I’m ready to test my skills and meet the challenges of the National Football League. I’d like to thank the Notre Dame community, the students, the faculty, the alumni, and all of my teammates for their outstanding support.”
Tuck, who was voted by his teammates the Irish’s Most Valuable Player in 2004, finished his Notre Dame career with a school-record 24.5 quarterback sacks including a single-season mark of 13.5 set in 2003. For his career, Tuck collected 164 total tackles, including 43 for losses, and deflected seven passes. He is on track to graduate in May with a degree in business management/entrepreneurship from the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame.
A native of Kellyton, AL, Tuck was a three-sport star at Central Coosa County High School where he earned Alabama Class 4A Player of the Year honors in 2000 and was a two-time All-State selection. He also was named the Most Valuable Player of the Class 4A State Basketball Championship Game as a junior, leading the CCHS basketball team to consecutive state championships in 2000 and 2001.