Lou Holtz might not be walking through that door, but Notre Dame's NFL talent level has reached its highest point since the days the master walked the sidelines in South Bend.
Three Irish players, Tyler Eifert (2013), Michael Floyd (2012) and Harrison Smith (2012) have been selected in the last two drafts. Martin is likely to be the fourth with Nix and Tuitt both possible, and the resulting four to six first rounders will represent the program's highest total since seven were selected in a three-draft span from 1992 through 1994.
1992: TE Derek Brown #14
1993: QB Rick Mirer (#2), RB Jerome Bettis (10), CB Tom Carter (17), TE Irv Smith (20)
1994: DT Bryant Young (#7), OL Aaron Taylor (16), S Jeff Burris (27).
Four first round selections a 17-draft span (1995-2011), a paltry total for a school that had previously posted 32 first-round picks in 30 seasons (1965-1994). But assuming Martin is chosen in the first round tonight, it will be four Irish players in the last three drafts, and not coincidentally, Notre Dame posted its best win total over that three-year span -- 29 wins, 10 losses -- since the aforementioned 1992-94 stretch produced seven first round picks alongside a 31-5-1 record on the field of play.
The challenge ahead for Kelly's Irish isn't Draft Day 2015 (when the program's three-year run of first-round selections is likely to suffer a hiccup), but the on field product next fall: winning enough games to meet or exceed -- not merely approach -- Holtz's four-season total and squads that finished 40-8-1 from 1990-1993.