Ian Book will return: A look at the Notre Dame QB room in 2020

After an up and down 2019 season, Ian Book announced via Instagram that he is returning to Notre Dame for his fifth season.

Less than 24 hours after defeating Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl, Ian Book declared he is coming back to Notre Dame to lead the Irish in 2020.

Book was impressive in the bowl game, completing 20 of 28 passes for 247 yards and a TD. He also added 30 yards on the ground from seven carries. Book was confident, decisive and led his team to victory in impressive fashion.

Looking forward to next year’s quarterback room, there is no denying it is a better one with Ian Book in it. Unless Book picks up an injury over the offseason, he is the clear starter for the 2020 season.

Backing up Book will likely be redshirt-junior Phil Jurkovec. There is no reason to assume Jurkovec will stay or leave, but a case could be made for both.

If he stays, it will be Jurkovec’s third season on the bench being the QB2. It is a lot to ask of a guy with a ton of talent like Jurkovec, who was very highly recruited out of high school. He surely thought he would be ‘the guy’ after Brandon Wimbush’s tenure at Notre Dame, but Book won the spot and is now returning as a third-year starter.

Jurkovec could enter the transfer portal, and there would be no shortage of teams wanting his services, as he would give them three years of playing time and plenty of potential.

If Jurkovec stays at Notre Dame, he takes another step towards a Notre Dame degree and is always only one play away from being the starter of the Notre Dame offense — assuming he stays QB2.

Possible guys that could de-throne Jurkovec at the QB2 spot would be sophomore Brendan Clark and freshman Drew Pyne.

Clark has impressed in the limited times he has played, and was the recipient of the ‘Practice Squad Player of the Year’. He was most definitely an underrated recruit out of high school, as he was just a three-star QB by 247. Clark is and will be a project QB at ND that could shine in the right situation, but with how Notre Dame has recruited as of late, it doesn’t seem like he will get a real shot unless there are multiple injuries or he takes a major step in the offseason.

Another guy battling for QB 2-3 is 2020 recruit Drew Pyne. He was a finalist at the Elite 11 camp and is rated as one of the better QBs in the 2020 class. A lifelong Notre Dame fan, Pyne’s dream has always been to play QB at Notre Dame and it looks like he is getting his chance.

Pyne will be an early-enrollee freshman, but it is not reasonable to expect him to surpass Jurkovec or Clark.

While that was a good look at the future, it is also important to focus on the here and now. Ian Book will again be at the helm for the Irish and that greatly enhances Notre Dame’s chances to return to the College Football Playoff in 2020.

Next: Irish roll to 11th win

Also, while it almost doesn’t seem true, if Book and Notre Dame win 9 games next season, Book ties Brady Quinn, Ron Powlus and Tom Clements for most wins in program history as a starting quarterback. Obviously, if Notre Dame wins 10 games, Book will then be the all-time leader in wins.

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