Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly did not go as far as to name him the starter, but senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush will start the spring as the Fighting Irish’s signal caller.
“You have to put somebody out there first, and by virtue of a lot of the really good things Brandon did last year, he’ll go out with the first group,” Kelly said during a press conference Monday. “… I wouldn’t use words like ‘He’s the presumptive starter,’ but yeah, he’ll be going out with the first group. But Brandon knows that he needs to work on his skill set as well.”
Wimbush had an up-and-down year in his first season as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback, but he apparently did enough to get an opportunity to retain his job. He threw for 1,870 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 starts last season, but completed just 49.5 percent of his passes. His lack of accuracy was mitigated by his legs, as he ran for 803 yards and 14 more scores.
Junior quarterback Ian Book did not perform well in his lone start against North Carolina, but also showed flashes in various relief appearances. In place of an injured Wimbush, Book threw for only 146 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions on 17-of-31 passing against the Tar Heels.
He played a key role in Notre Dame’s Citrus Bowl victory over LSU, however, completing 14 of his 19 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Wimbush.
“But we all know that Ian was integral in our last win against LSU, and he deserves an opportunity to compete as well,” Kelly said. “I think what we’ll do is we’ll foster an environment where our players know that they truly have an opportunity to compete for a starting position.”
Sophomore quarterback Avery Davis, a former 4-star prospect, will also compete for the starting quarterback job, as well as some other things for the Fighting Irish.
It is apparent that this competition will take time to sort itself out. But Wimbush has the potential to be a dynamic player if he becomes more consistent throwing the football.
If he does, he will start more than just the spring for Notre Dame.
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