Notre Dame's Nick McCloud intercepts two passes in Hula Bowl

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Nick McCloud made the most of his trip out to Hawaii to play in Sunday’s Hula Bowl.

The former Notre Dame cornerback intercepted a pair of passes and took home defensive MVP honors for Team Kai in a 15-13 win over Team ‘Aina.

McCloud was joined by Notre Dame teammate Shaun Crawford in the postseason all-star game and pre-draft showcase at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium.

McCloud intercepted one more pass in the Hula Bowl than he did in his one season at Notre Dame. The grad transfer from N.C. State tallied 33 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception, eight pass breakups and two fumble recoveries in 12 games with the Irish.

McCloud intercepted a pass thrown by former Northwestern quarterback Peyton Ramsey in the second quarter of the Hula Bowl. He later picked off Tulsa’s Zach Smith with less than five minutes remaining in the game to slow Team ‘Aina’s rally attempt.

With NFL Scouting Combine mainly consisting of online interviews and relying on colleges to host pro days instead of hosting in-person workouts in Indianapolis, every pre-draft showcase has added value. Five Notre Dame teammates played in Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.: quarterback Ian Book, defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji and offensive linemen Robert Hainsey and Aaron Banks.

The list of NFL hopefuls from Notre Dame also includes likely first-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, consensus All-American offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg, four-year starting offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer, wide receivers Javon McKinley and Ben Skowronek and tight ends Tommy Tremble and Brock Wright.

Skowronek injured his right foot in practices for the Senior Bowl last week. Eichenberg backed out of his accepted invitation to the Senior Bowl for undisclosed reasons.

At least a few of Notre Dame’s 14 draft-eligible players likely won’t be selected in this year’s NFL Draft, which is scheduled to be held April 29-May 1 in Cleveland. The Irish could flirt with breaking the Brian Kelly Era high of eight picks in the 2014 draft. Notre Dame’s 10-man draft class of 1994 stands as the program record since the NFL Draft moved to its seven-round format that same year.

Former Notre Dame cornerback Nick McCloud, with ball, celebrates the first of his two interceptions with his Team Kai teammates during the Hula Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.