Tony Rice, QB, 1987 – 1989
Tony Rice absolutely belongs in this group. The last quarterback to win a National Championship for the Irish back in 1988, He was one of the most versatile quarterbacks in Irish history.
Rice largely makes this list because he was the face of a National Championship team. If the Irish don’t bring home a championship that year, he would most likely be seen as an underwhelming player in the long run. While he went 31-4 as a starter, his numbers are — for the most part — not impressive.
Rice finished his career with 1,921 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns, which are respectable numbers for a quarterback. Leading a triple option offense, the 1988 National Championship campaign saw Rice rush for 700 yards and nine (fitting) touchdowns.
When it comes to getting it done through the air, let’s just be grateful he could execute the triple option offense like a pro. Rice finished his career with an awful 48.5% completion percentage, 2,961 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. Having a 1:2 touchdown to interception ratio is not good by any standard.
Luckily for Notre Dame and its fan base, he helped win us a National Championship — and that’s what matters. Additionally, his title as arguably the best option quarterback in Irish history means he will always have a spot on this list.