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FOOTBALL: Four players receive invites to Combine

Pat Leonard | Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Four former Notre Dame football players have been invited to the 2005 National Football League Combine that starts today at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Tight end Jerome Collins, linebacker Mike Goolsby, running back Ryan Grant and defensive end Justin Tuck all will participate in the weeklong tryouts, ending March 1.

Goolsby, Grant and Tuck were starters for the Irish in 2004, while Collins played special teams and blocked three punts in 11 games.

Tuck, who was named the Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player in 2004 by his teammates, broke the Notre Dame career sack record this season, registering 24.5 sacks in three seasons. During the coaching change from former Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham to new coach Charlie Weis, the Kellyton, Ala. native decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

Collins played in 46 games during his Notre Dame career. The Warrenville, Ill. native played wide receiver in high school and moved to linebacker when he joined the Irish. Collins later played some time at defensive end, as well. In 35 games at linebacker and the end position, he made 14 total tackles (11 solo).

In 2004, Collins played a backup role at a deep tight end position, catching six passes for 67 yards.

Goolsby played in 47 games for Notre Dame, starting 25 games at linebacker. The Joliet, Ill. native led Notre Dame with 97 tackles and two interceptions in 2004 after missing the 2003 season due to a broken collarbone.

Grant, who split time with freshman Darius Walker at tailback in 2004, finished his career No. 11 on the Irish all-time rushing list 2,220 yards. His 18 rushing touchdowns rank tied at No. 10 with former Irish back Randy Kinder. Grant was a starter for most of the past three seasons, rushing for over 100 yards five times. The Nyack, N.Y. native is one of only seven players in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season (1,085 in 2002).

Eight Notre Dame players were invited to the combine last year, and five of those players remain on NFL rosters. The five players are defensive tackle Darrell Campbell (Chicago), strong safety Glenn Earl (Houston), running back Julius Jones (Cowboys), offensive tackle Jim Molinaro (Washington) and linebacker Courtney Watson (New Orleans).