Notre Dame football: 5 great players who didn’t live up to the NFL hype

Brady Quinn #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Brady Quinn #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Overrated Notre Dame football players, NFL busts
Notre Dame football (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame football is royalty in the college ranks and, while there have been several NFL successes there have also been some greats who busted as a pro.

Few programs are as nationally divisive as Notre Dame football. Historically, they are the gold standard in the sport, no pun intended. They have 11 National Championships to their credit and have seven Heisman Trophy winners that have suited up in South Bend. But they haven’t won a title since 1988 and, though they played in the College Football Playoff in 2018 and for the title in 2012, the consistent dominance has gone by the wayside.

Regardless, with the prestige of the Fighting Irish, they have still continuously brought in top-tier talent and many players have produced as some of the best in college football. Specifically over the last couple of decades, though, they have had some big whiffs in terms of the NFL prospects they’ve produced.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five Notre Dame football greats who went to the NFL but haven’t lived up to the hype.

Notre Dame football NFL busts: Michael Floyd.

Michael Floyd was a dominant presence for the Notre Dame offense throughout his time in South Bend. The wide receiver had over 700 yards in each of his first two seasons, including the 2009 season when he was limited to only seven games, and had 16 touchdowns combined over those two years as well.

In his junior and senior seasons, Floyd was a monster. For the 2010 campaign, Floyd had 79 catches for 1,025 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns. He followed that up by catching 100 passes for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns in his final season. Floyd is far and away Notre Dame’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns for a career.

To be sure, Floyd has enjoyed NFL success. The Arizona Cardinals selected him with the No. 13 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and he looked quite good early on. After a solid rookie season, he exploded for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns in the 2013 campaign. He then had over 800 receiving yards and six touchdowns in each of the next two years.

Floyd finds his way onto this list, however, due to what’s happened since then and the unmet potential because of it. The Cardinals released Floyd late in 2016 after a DUI arrest. Though he was picked up by the Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl, he was inactive for the big game. He has since bounced around the league but has just 20 catches for 178 yards since the end of the 2016 season and wasn’t on an active roster for 2019.