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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Cardinals’ Floyd one of two Notre Dame players selected in first round

Michael Floyd brandished the screaming red Cardinals jersey for the cameras Thursday night, looking upon the Radio City Music Hall crowd with an indomitable smile, living a moment he had envisioned his entire life.

And then he told ESPN that moment gave him “bubble guts.”

It is undoubtedly a word choice the record-setting Notre Dame receiver will regret during rookie hazing, but otherwise this was all he could ask for. Floyd went No. 13 overall in the NFL draft to the Cardinals, overcoming personal adversity and reuniting with fellow Minnesotan and mentor Larry
Fitzgerald in the desert.

“The difference is the motivation to be in this position,” Floyd told ESPN as he walked offstage, when asked about how he changed the past year.

“I’ve always wanted it since I was a little kid, watching this. … It motivated me to become a stronger man and better person.”

The context for that comment, of course, was Floyd’s March 2011 DUI arrest and subsequent indefinite suspension from the Irish that had teams investigating his character throughout the run-up to the draft. His performance on and off the field apparently was convincing enough.

“He was too good to pass up,” Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said.

He set Notre Dame career marks for receptions (271), yards (2,686), receiving touchdowns (37), and games with at least 100 receiving yards (17). And now he offers a 6-foot-3, 220-pound complement to Fitzgerald, who has five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and a $120 million contract.

“It’s another emotion I couldn’t imagine coming true,” Floyd told ESPN of playing with Fitzgerald.
“He’s a great guy. I want to go there and learn from him _ he has been in the game so long, he knows the ins and outs of being a great wide receiver.”

It was the earliest a Notre Dame player heard his name called since 1994, when Bryant Young went No. 7 overall to the 49ers.

It was the earliest an Irish offensive player went since 1993, when Rick Mirer was No. 2 overall to the Seahawks and Jerome Bettis went No. 10 to the Steelers.

Floyd was also the first Irish receiver drafted in the first round since Tim Brown was snagged sixth overall in 1988.

“I’ve said many times I have never coached a person as talented as Michael, and his selection tonight shows that,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “Michael’s work ethic and passion for football are unparalleled and fans of the Cardinals will love the productivity he’ll bring to Arizona’s offense.”

Safety Harrison Smith went to the Vikings with the No. 29 pick, giving the Irish two first-rounders for the first time since 1994. Smith also was the highest-drafted Irish defensive back since Jeff Burris was taken 27th overall in that 1994 NFL draft.

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