Notre Dame Athletics
Ian Book and the Notre Dame offense destroyed #23 Navy’s defense on Saturday putting up 52 points in a game where the starters were taken out early in the 3rd quarter. Book went 14/20 for 284 yards and 5 touchdowns with no interceptions in a performance that moved him from 60th to 34th nationally in passer efficiency. But most impressive today was Book’s downfield passing.
Three throws especially stood out to me: the 47 yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool where Book hit the receiver in stride up the seam, the 70 yard TD pass to Braden Lenzy that was also a dime that hit Lenzy in stride, and the 27 yard completion to Lawrence Keys that came at the end of a broken play where Book had to scramble and then deliver a dime to Keys along the sideline. All three of these throws were beautiful deep balls that we hadn’t seen Book deliver all season. Many Irish fans will look backward and wonder where this has been all season, but the true question is how does this affect Notre Dame’s future?
Ian Book has another season of eligibility left, which leaves many to speculate what Book or Notre Dame might decide to do. Prior to the season, many believed there was a chance Book would play well enough to get himself into NFL draft consideration and that he might leave Notre Dame early. Clearly, he hasn’t played well enough to do that, so Book will almost certainly want to play another season of football. Many fans have been wondering, however, if Notre Dame would want him as the starter next season.
Sophomore Phil Jurkovec was brought to Notre Dame with hopes he might be the future starter for Notre Dame. And with Book struggling this season, many believed next year he would be given a shot regardless of if Book wanted to come back to Notre Dame. However, it seems highly unlikely that Book will try and test the NFL or do a graduate transfer (like what 2017-18 starter Brandon Wimbush did), so that means we will likely see both Book and Jurkovec on the roster next season. Prior to this week, I would have said we will probably see a QB competition between the two in the off-season because of Jurkovec’s potential and Book’s lack of progress, but if Book keeps playing like this then I have little doubt in my mind he will be Notre Dame’s starter next season.