Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet to enter NFL draft

Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet is entering the NFL draft, he announced Thursday.

Kmet ranked second on the team in receptions (43), receiving yards (515) and receiving touchdowns (6) this past season. ESPN's Mel Kiper ranks the junior as the No. 6 draft-eligible tight end for 2020.

He said in November that he planned to play baseball for the Fighting Irish in the spring and then return to the football field for his senior season.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision," Kmet posted on Twitter, "because while I am ready for the NFL, I was not ready to say goodbye to Notre Dame."

Kmet sustained a broken collarbone before the season and missed two games. He appeared in the final 11 games as the Fighting Irish went 11-2 and beat the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday, 33-9, in the Camping World Bowl.

Kmet said Thursday that he plans to complete his degree at Notre Dame. Sports Business Journal reported that Kmet and Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool both have signed with the Athletes First agency.

They join running back Tony Jones Jr. and safety Alohi Gilman in making themselves available for the April 23-25 draft. Quarterback Ian Book has said he'll return to Notre Dame next season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.