Eagles fan DeShone Kizer hoping for a successful repeat appearance in Philadelphia

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Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer looks to pass against Virginia Tech during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016.

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer can only hope this trip to Philadelphia can match his appearance in the city on Halloween night in 2015.

Kizer is one of the true mystery players in the NFL draft, which kicks off its three-day extravaganza with the first round on Thursday.

He is among 21 players who will attend the draft. All of them paid a visit Wednesday to Philadelphia's Shriners Hospital for Children.

Kizer once was considered a sure-fire first-round pick, but his inconsistent 2016 season could make him wait until Friday's second day to be selected.

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Either way, when Kizer talks about Philadelphia and the Eagles, he has nothing but good memories. He guided Notre Dame to a comeback 24-20 win over a previously unbeaten Temple team on Oct. 31, 2015, before a record home crowd of 69,280 at Lincoln Financial Field.

"It was awesome coming here to Philadelphia, an amazing city, and to play in the Eagles' stadium," Kizer said. "It was a dream come true for me being an Eagles fan growing up."

An Eagles fan? Kizer hails from Toledo, Ohio.

"My dad was a big Eagles fan and I grew up with a Donovan McNabb jersey," he said. "I like to say [McNabb] was my first quarterback coach because I grew up watching YouTube videos of him."

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His father wasn't from Philadelphia, but according to Kizer, the attraction was when Randall Cunningham was the quarterback. His father was a big Cunningham fan and later had the same affinity for McNabb. Kizer followed suit. "It became a family tradition of watching the Eagles growing up," he said.

In the nationally-televised win over Temple, Kizer completed 23 of 36 passes for 299 yards with two interceptions and a game-winning 17-yard scoring pass to Philadelphia product Will Fuller with just over two minutes left. Kizer also rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

Kizer "was a great leader for his team that night," recalled Temple's Haason Reddick, a linebacker who is expected to be selected in the first round.

Last season, Kizer and the Irish took a serious step back, going 4-8. He completed 58.7 percent of his passes and threw 26 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

Kizer was asked a lot about the team's record when he met with NFL teams, and the 6-foot-4, 233-pounder stood tall in the pocket answering the questions.

"You are supposed to be an elite quarterback and are supposed to win games, that is your job," he said. "At Notre Dame, I didn't win them and they have to question me about winning and if I can be a winner."

The NFL Network's Steve Mariucci feels that Kizer has a bright future.

"He has all the tools - size, arm, talent, and he can move - and I think he is going to be a good pro," said Mariucci, who was an NFL head coach for nine years. "He is going to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but it won't be day one and that will be good for him to sit and learn a little bit, and when it is time, he will be ready."

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard