Ian Book looked like he was becoming the QB that Notre Dame has long been chasing. He fell short in the playoff but has plenty of time to grow. Even if Book doesn’t work out like everyone hopes, Kelly has other options that could become Notre Dame’s QB.
The one that everyone has been dying to see. Jurkovec was the hot recruit out of Pennsylvania and fans wanted to see him when Book struggled at any point. Kelly decided to let Jurkovec sit and redshirt him through his Freshman season. Now after spending a year in the system, Jurkovec could be ready after we have witnessed so many young guys do it the last few years. So with a talented 2018 class getting ready to be the next stars, Brian Kelly could make Jurkovec Notre Dame’s QB change.
Jurkovec had offers from Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State and a host of others. The four star top 100 player seems to have plenty of talent and the size to match. The 6-5 redshirt Freshman has a big arm and can throw it accurately downfield, something the Fighting Irish have lacked. But fighting the Kelly mold, Jurkovec has also shown his ability to run and can move when needed.
The biggest question will be how Jurkovec develops and adapts to the speed of the college game. It wouldn’t be the first promising recruit to come in and fail to meet expectations. Not saying we have Dayne Crist on our hands, but the spring game will likely help answer some questions.
Pyne isn’t on the roster yet and could not ever see time in the blue and gold. The class of 2020 QB has committed to Notre Dame but a lot can change between now and signing day for his class. So while this is a bit premature, fans can feel fairly confident about Pyne ending up in South Bend.
Pyne will come in with an impressive amount of offers and fan fair. Boasting offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and a host of others, it is fair to say, he is talented. The four star recruit also has more time to grow and get that fifth star that has desperately evaded Notre Dame. Pyne also has quite the family history in pro football. But more importantly is his cousin, Kevin Pyne, who is a top 20 recruit at OT in the class of 2020. Landing a potential five star QB and five star OT would be a solid way to get the 2020 class off and running.
To focus more on his play and what’s to come, this kid can ball. Over 7,000 career passing yards and 81 touchdowns with a season to go. He also completed 65% of his passes last season and has shown accuracy and great touch for a young player. In his highlights below you can see how well his ball placement is. Most quarterbacks with big time offers should be able to hit the open man in stride. Pyne has also shown that he can fit it in the tight windows but also doesn’t panic under pressure. He is able to keep his eyes down field and extend plays with his legs until someone pops open. The most impressive thing to me though is his size. He isn’t this bigger, stronger athletic freak that just dominants smaller kids. He actually looks rather small and is still lighting up opposing defenses. 247 sports has Pyne at 6-1 172. He is still growing and will likely fill out as he gets older. A college weight room program could do wonders for him as he continues to grow and mature.
I wouldn’t talk about Brian Kelly having a good problem at QB without mentioning the presumed starter in 2019. Some fans are torn on Book because of his performance in the playoff. He still didn’t have an entire season under his belt against Clemson. Book is intelligent and doesn’t turn the ball over. He doesn’t have that electric factor that Brandon Wimbush had, but he also isn’t likely to make stupid decisions.
There were definite flaws in his game and that is to be expected. He didn’t play in four games last season. He had a little more then half a season so to struggle in some spots isn’t enough to get rid of him. But that also means he needs to continue to grow because he is going to have Jurkovec nipping at his heels. Kelly has proven he will make a change if he feels it is best for the team.
My biggest knock against Book is his struggles when the lights are brightest. The first half of Virginia Tech, USC and Clemson were not great for Book. The Pitt game could be thrown in there too but that was just a dominant defensive performance from Pitt as the entire Notre Dame defense struggled. This is also going to be a problem fixed with reps and time but it won’t be easy for him. Notre Dame plays at Georgia, at Stanford and at Michigan next season.
It is easy to say Jurkovec should be the starter next season because he is an unknown. Book struggled but also had very little game experience under him. Ian Book did prove he can win you games and doesn’t typically lose you them. He may not be Brady Quinn but he could develop into the next great Notre Dame QB over the next two years. Either way, Brian Kelly can’t have an excuse for not finding his QB. If they’re not in the room already, they will be soon enough.