Is Ian Book a lock to win the Notre Dame quarterback job for the 2019 season?
When Brian Kelly made the shift from Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book, it was surprising but not shocking. Wimbush, though a proven winner, still wasn’t putting up great numbers as the quarterback at Notre Dame. It wasn’t good enough, and the calls to see what Wimbush’s back-up could do were getting louder.
Despite quickly losing the job, there really wasn’t a question about who would be starting Week 1, against Michigan. It would be Wimbush. Every fan and media member new it. What they didn’t know was that just behind him, former three star prospect Ian Book was pushing him for the starting job.
Now that Wimbush has transferred to UCF and Book had an excellent season, it would appear that Ian Book has the starting job secured for 2019. However, it is worth looking at who could push him this spring for the starting job — or at least strive to be his back up. Remember, Book missed a game with injury in 2018, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see a backup play meaningful minutes in 2019.
There are four quarterbacks on the Notre Dame roster for 2019 besides Ian Book. They are junior JD Carney, redshirt sophomore Avery Davis, sophomore Phil Jurkovec, and incoming Freshman Brendon Clark.
JD Carney is the son of kicker John Carney and is considered a “valuable member of the scout team,” according the roster Notre Dame posts online. I would expect that to remain the case. He’s a walk-on, and it isn’t likely he ever sees the field.
Avery Davis, on the other hand, has a serious chance to push for the second string job. Now a junior, he’s had time to develop. Davis started out as a four-star and the 7th ranked dual threat quarterback in his class. Going back to high school, he threw 37 touchdown passes and ran for another six his senior season. I’m excited about how Davis fits into Chip Long’s RPO offense, and I think he’s ready to explode.
Phil Jurkovec will be the presumed back up for the start of the 2019 season. This is because he, unlike Davis, saw time in game as a freshman. Jurkovec was a four star quarterback in high school, who signed with the Irish over teams like Alabama and Clemson. He was insanely successful in high school. He threw for 3,000 yards and ran for another 1,000 in one season. On top of that, Jurkovec accounted for 63 total TDs.
He’s got tons of talent, and has a better chance of pushing Book in terms of the most talented quarterback on the roster, than Davis.
Jurkovec is a younger, and less refined talent than Davis, however. Personally, I feel better about Davis taking over in case of an injury, but the upside is a bit better with Jurkovec. Both are very good options.
Brendon Clark, and incoming freshman, rounds out the roster. He, like Book, is a three star. He’s also considered a dual-threat. Clark needs time to grow, and he isn’t as great a raw talent as the others to make the push for any role of importance this season. I fully expect him to redshirt in 2019. Down the road, who knows? Maybe he is the next Ian Book — ready to replace the higher rated starter.
At this point, no quarterback on the roster should push Book too much. The real competition is for the backup job, which in turn sets up whomever wins that job up to be the starter in 2020.