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April 26, 2013
Stanford tight end Zach Ertz had one of the best games of his Cardinal career in Stanford's 17-14 upset win over Oregon last season. Ertz caught a career-high 11 passes for 106 yards and the game-tying touchdown.
Stanford's victory dashed Oregon's national title and Pac-12 championship hopes.
Now, Ertz will play for the architect of the Ducks patented up-tempo offense in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly. Kelly and the Eagles selected Ertz with the 35th pick of the draft, one spot after the Indianapolis Colts chose Coby Fleener last year. The San Francisco 49ers passed on Ertz with the 34th pick.
"I couldn't be happier to be going to play for Coach Kelly and the Eagles," Ertz said in a statement released by Stanford. "My mom and dad were both born in Pennsylvania, so it feels like this very cool circle of life. I can't stop thinking about how the Pac-12 gave me my start, and now I will be able to keep playing for a coach that I respected since I started at Stanford. Thank you all for your support."
Ertz leaves Stanford as one of the most accomplished tight ends in program history.
He led all FBS tight ends last season with 69 receptions and 898 receiving yards. He was also the Cardinal's leading receiver in eight of Stanford's 14 games.
Ertz joins an already-solid group of tight ends in Philadelphia. Veteran Brent Celek and recent addition James Casey will, along with Ertz, be the featured tight ends in Kelly's offense. The trio should fit Kelly's tight end heavy offense. (Kelly favors an additional tight end in lieu of a fullback.)
It's less certain who, exactly, will be delivering passes to Philadelphia receivers. Former Pac-12 rival Nick Foles and Michael Vick are on the Eagles' roster, and Kelly has yet to indicate who will be the starter. A wildcard possibility is one of Kelly's former players at Oregon, quarterback Dennis Dixon.
Ertz joins fellow Stanford football alums Coby Fleener, Konrad Reuland, Alex Smith, Jim Dray and Evan Moore as active NFL tight ends. Levine Toilolo is expected to join them on the third day of the NFL Draft.
Along with Toilolo, Chase Thomas and Stepfan Taylor will likely be drafted when the draft resumes at 9 a.m.