A week ago, I think there were very few people who predicted Notre Dame was going to land a quarterback in this recruiting class. I think even those few people would not have predicted that Notre Dame would currently have a commitment from former Penn State commitment Brandon Wimbush to play quarterback for the Irish.
Heck, I even wrote this about him back in June when he was committed and we were all wondering who could be next at quarterback after Blake Barnett bailed on the Irish:
There is no denying that he may be a fit at (Notre Dame) and in the offense...so if he's having second thoughts, then he would be someone worth kicking the tires on.
It turns out he was having second thoughts and not too many people were aware of it. Then it turned into "Wimbush is coming on a visit" to "He's got a lot to think about" to "He's Irish!" in a very short amount of time.
I can't begin to tell you how ecstatic I am about this pickup for Notre Dame. I think the program probably would have been fine with quarterback depth if they didn't land anyone in 2015, but going from no one to landing a player like Wimbush is massive. I have watched film on and seen most of the top quarterbacks in this recruiting class throw in person. There are very few as talented as him.
Out of all the players who attended the Elite 11 back in July, I didn't see anyone with a stronger arm than Wimbush. I really can't do it justice by describing it or sharing video of it. Although, if I had to describe it, it would be arm strength "like whoa". It's kind of ridiculous to see it in person. I thought he might actually dent the chest of a few of the young local kids who were taking part in drills before the receivers from The Opening showed up.
One thing I saw from him then and also made note of from his junior year was that he tended to rifle in the ball on just about every throw. I liked his mechanics and his footwork, but he didn't show the touch on some throws that required it.
That is something that looks to have changed with him during his senior season. He now has added those touch throws to his game.
Here's an example of what I'm referring to from a game earlier this season when his school, St. Peter's Prep, took on another New Jersey Catholic school power in Bergen Catholic.
It's 3rd and 6 and SPP has two receivers to each side. Bergen Catholic is respecting the threat of the run from either the back or from Wimbush and are lining up in man coverage to the left side of the formation with no safety help.
Wimbush sees this and is changing the play to take advantage of it.
He knows exactly where he wants to go with the football and the match up his receiver is going to win in the slot.
He puts it exactly where his receiver can go up and get it and does it with touch. Almost too easy. Touchdown.
Here's what it looks like in actual moving picture form.
I wanted to show that play because of the audible, but this next throw on a fade is the one I really need to show.
Now that is a touch throw.
He made other touch throws like this in this game and showed a lot more than that. When the ball needed to be delivered in tight windows, he was putting it on the money and was consistently hitting his receivers in stride. He threw the ball on a rope down the seam. He showed outstanding mobility escaping pressure and was a threat as a runner. He looked great with a clean pocket and made throws when he had two guys hanging onto him. Wimbush even had a Johnny Football type of play where he probably should have lost ten yards on a sack, but turned it into a fifteen yard scramble for a first down.
I guess you could say that his performance in this game just showed everything he is capable of and how he can make all the throws, yet also has the added element of being a running threat. So, pretty much a perfect fit in Brian Kelly's offense.
To top it all off, he also is already built like a college quarterback. He might not be a giant in the pocket, but he looked like a man standing next to a bunch of boys at the Elite 11 in terms of his physique.
So is there anything not to like about Wimbush? Other than him being only 6'1", I'm not sure there is.
If his physical skills and play on the field are not enough to get you excited about his future at Notre Dame, check out this answer to a question about what he likes about playing quarterback from an interview back in March:
"The pressure that's on the quarterback. I know if you do well, you get the glory. If you do bad, everybody comes at you. Just being the icon on the field and being the leader on and off the field. That's what I like the most."
I don't know about you, but that sounds like the right kind of mentality to succeed at playing quarterback for Notre Dame.
When Notre Dame lost a commitment from Blake Barnett, I was pretty positive that they would not find a quarterback with as much potential as him in this recruiting class. I'm happy to say that I was wrong. Notre Dame landed a commitment from a player with big time arm talent and as much upside as any other quarterback in this class.
Wimbush is going to be challenged to beat out talented players like Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer in a couple of years. I think he's the kind of guy who craves that kind of challenge. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he was throwing darts like this to his future teammate CJ Sanders one day inside Notre Dame stadium.