Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley to enter 2016 NFL Draft

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Ronnie Stanley confirmed what most already knew.

Come 2016, Notre Dame's standout right tackle will take his talents to the NFL Draft.

“I knew if I came back this would be the last year," Stanley said matter-of-factly on Monday. "That wasn’t really something I thought about.”

A 6-foot-6, 315-pound senior, Stanley has started 38 consecutive games on the Irish offensive line. The Las Vegas native would have been eligible for a fifth season after contributing in just two games in his freshman season in 2012.

Instead, the Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State on Jan. 1 will be his final collegiate game, as well as an NFL preview.

"You have to look at it as you’re preparing yourself for the next level," Stanley said, when asked about the match up against celebrated Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. "This game is definitely an opportunity for me to take advantage and really showcase my skills of being a top tackle.”

Stanley, who will be back on campus to get his degree in the second half of the spring semester, takes no solace in the fact that Notre Dame has been granted a New Year's bowl game against the reigning national champ.

But though he returned to Notre Dame to chase a championship, a win in his finale will have to do.

“The playoff, that was our goal. That was our mission," Stanley said. "That was everything we were going for.

"We came up short on that end, but we still have another game to play and we’re not looking at this as anything less than the national championship. We’re still coming out with the same attitude.”

Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley (78) moves to block Wake Forest’s Wendell Dunn (14) during the Notre Dame-Wake Forest NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN