News broke today that Notre Dame backup quarterback Phil Jurkovec had entered the transfer portal.
While this Phil Jurkovec news may come as a surprise to some, there had been rumblings throughout the season that this was a possibility. However, the rumblings seemed to go away towards the end of the season. Although he is not one-hundred percent certain to transfer just because he entered the transfer portal, it is very likely.
There could be a number of different reasons for him to make this decision — one of which being that starting quarterback Ian Book deciding to return for a fifth year.
Despite a shaky first half of the season, Book played very well to end the season, and after making his decision, there wasn’t much arguing that he was going to be the starter come next season.
Book’s return may not have been the only reason for Jurkovec’s presumed departure. A couple of other factors could have played into his choice as well. One of those being that freshman backup quarterback Brendon Clark — who was given “Practice Player of the Year” award at the teams award ceremony to end the season — had played well enough to take over the No. 2 spot, behind Ian Book.
The other big factor that could have played into Jurkovec’s decision was the lack of playing time he got. Many Irish fans — myself included — believed that he wasn’t given much of a chance to prove himself. Even if it was just mop-up duties, it always seemed like he wasn’t given as much playing time as he should have been. This is not a knock on Ian Book’s play at all, just that they always seemed to keep Book in longer than he needed to be in.
This was only the case during blowouts of course.
One last thing that could have impacted Phil Jurkovec’s decision was possible a combination of reasons stated above and the fact that the two quarterbacks coming over the next two recruiting cycles looked very impressive — those being Drew Pyne (2020) and Tyler Buchner (2021).
Pyne played well in the Under Armour All-America game and Buchner just had an record setting season and is a very high profile player in his class. With these two coming in and having to play backup for at least one more season, it’s quite possible Phil felt like he was never going to get the chance to shine, and ultimately felt like leaving the program was in his best interest.
As I mentioned previously, nothing is set in stone, but all signs point towards Jurkovec leaving the program. While the above info is just speculation, it is likely that some of those were reasons for this decision.
In his two years at Notre Dame, Jurkovec went 12 of 17 passing and had a total of 222 yards after appearing in eight games. For a complete breakdown of Phil Jurkovec’s stats while at Notre Dame, click here.