The Notre Dame staff pulled off a major flip in convincing former Penn State commit Brandon Wimbush to join the 2015 Irish recruiting class. The 6'1", 212 pound signal caller is the #70 player overall in the 247 Composite, the #4 dual-threat quarterback, and the #2 prospect in New Jersey. In addition to Notre Dame and Penn State, he also holds offers from Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State, South Carolina, and Stanford, among many others. He's pretty darned good.
Early comparisons to Everett Golson are fairly apt, with a couple of notable differences. He's bigger than Golson and he's not quite as polished as a passer, but both are confident, strong-armed, pass-first quarterbacks who are able to make things happen with their feet when the play breaks down. Nothing like setting the bar high early... Will the St. Peter's Prep star's flip rekindle interest from his teammate, five-star cornerback and Alabama commit Minkah Fitzpatrick, in Notre Dame as well? Only time will tell.
Wimbush announced the news himself today via his Twitter feed:
Life decision, lot of prayer, a lot of soul searching made me re-think my goals. Thank you Penn State, but I'm commiting the Fighting Irish!— brandon wimbush (@BrandonW_7) October 7, 2014
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 4-star (5.9 grade), #65 overall, #2 pro-style QB
247 - 4-star (96 grade), #82 overall, #5 dual-threat QB, #3 in New Jersey
ESPN - 4-star (84 grade), #71 overall, #5 dual-threat QB, #2 in New Jersey
Scout - 4-star, #149 overall, #11 QB, #2 in New Jersey
247 Composite - 4-star (0.9636 grade), #70 overall, #2 dual-threat QB, #2 in New Jersey
Wow. There's a lot to like on his junior year highlight reel. You can tell right away that he's a pretty solid kid, and when he runs you can see he knows how to use his size. He's a decisive and powerful runner - but also smart enough to know when not to take a hit. What really jumps out, though, is his arm strength. He threw some wide patterns that require serious arm strength with no problem at all, and he pushed the ball way downfield very easily.
He might have a little bit of a hitch on pocket throws, while his throwing motion almost seems smoother when he's on the run; he could be overthinking it when he's not pressured. His touch seemed maybe a little inconsistent on short throws (small sample on this film, though). The motion and touch should both be easy enough for QB coach Matt LaFleur to work on once Brandon gets to South Bend. This kid should be fun to watch once he gets on the field.
Brian Kelly has done an excellent job of restocking the quarterback pipeline, which will hopefully limit the opportunity for instant impact. At this point it seems fairly likely that Golson will return for 2015, for a myriad of reasons that we won't get into on Brandon Wimbush's commitment post; if that is indeed the case, the Irish will have Golson, Malik Zaire, Deshone Kizer, and Wimbush on campus together. Barring some kind of QB-pocalypse, Wimbush will almost certainly redshirt in 2015.
It's tough to project out past 2016, which is probably where we realistically have to look to imagine Wimbush getting meaningful snaps. Considering he's essentially a clone of Golson at 110% resolution, though, it's easy to project that he'll be a similarly wonderful fit for this offense. The safest bet is probably that Deshone Kizer will have to fend off Wimbush for the heir-apparent title during 2016, assuming Zaire is running the offense at that point. Eventually, I would expect Wimbush to become the Irish starter and do very well in a system designed for a quarterback like him.