That’s how many plays Brandon Wimbush has participated in for Notre Dame. Out of those 27 plays (not counting a couple of penalty plays) Wimbush created 2 touchdowns. It was one for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and one for its opponent that day, the Pittsburgh Panthers. In those limited number of plays, it would be hard for one to justify the oncoming greatness that will fall onto the shoulders of Brandon Wimbush.
But, that is exactly what will happen- unlike any quarterback we have seen suit up in recent Notre Dame history. Insane? Maybe, yet let me make my case on why this statement will hold true and Brandon Wimbush will win the Heisman trophy in 2017.
I’m not high and I haven’t had a heat stroke. What I am, is convinced we are going to see something very special this year. We’ve been treated to some good quarterback play over the last 25 years or so, but nothing like what I expect we’ll see in 2017.
Every once in a while you get a player that comes along that, as one coach quipped, “tips the damn field”. A player of such rare ability and talent that he tends to take a game over, even if the game plan does not call for it. This type of player will drive a coach insane, but will also be a savior for when a play doesn’t work or breaks down. A player that just has “it”…whatever “it” is; you know it when you see it.
Brandon Wimbush is going to be that guy- a guy that on any play, can turn a scramble or read-option, into a 70 yard touchdown run. And I’m not talking about a run that surprises everybody and you’re holding your breath he doesn’t get caught. No, I’m talking about a player that you know will create a magical effort that leaves no doubt afterword that he was going to score.
Brandon Wimbush will be the type of QB that will look effortless throwing downfield, as if tossing a beer can into the trash. Wimbush will be doing things similar to what Lamar Jackson did last year at Louisville.
Think I’m nuts?
I watched his high school film, and a few of the examples he showed during the 2015 season to see if what I’m thinking is indeed possible. If you look closely, you’ll see a bigger, stronger version of Jackson, especially from his prep days. His highlight reel is incredible. I think we may have forgotten what a gifted athlete this is. The way he sets his feet to look to pass first, then how quickly he re-adjusts to run when his “clock” goes off as the pocket is collapsing. That’s a big one right there, going from that gathering step in his set up to throw ,to full acceleration out of it is a rare gift.
Wimbush has that ability.
When running the zone read, his burst off the mesh with the back is insanely quick. On the 58 yard run against Umass in 2015, watch his feet right at the handoff point, same hope-skip and gather. Then he’s gone. You can say, “yeah.. that’s against UMass.”
Slow down and think, “yeah…he’s had two years to develop even more as well.” All that development will help him avoid what happened against Pitt in 2015, when he didn’t pick up the blitz quick enough, got hit, and fumbled. That’s true freshman stuff. He’s still young and it seems ludicrous to assume an inexperienced first year starter can compete with this year’s past Heisman winner- but I’m not saying that… I’m saying he’ll be better.
A guy I know close to the Notre Dame program, a guy with over 25 years of coaching and analyzing player development told me this after watching Wimbush in the 2016 season during practice,
“Look, this guy is beyond special, I’ve seen a bunch of ‘em come and go, but if you put him in the game you’ll have a chance to score every single time. Hell, I’d put him in just to watch him play, he’s your secret weapon, if nothing in the playbook is working, the weather sucks and nothing seems to be going right. Put Wimbush in and he’ll create an offense by himself.”
Similar thoughts have been shared by teammates through the 2016 season. There were also small snippets on twitter and other social media outlets that all alluded to the same thought. They saw something unique as well. What I believe, is you have the perfect athlete in the perfect system to excel and showcase his ability. I’m not trying to allude in any way that this will be a freelance circus in 2017. I think Wimbush will do all this within the frame work of the offense.
Just take a close look at what Notre Dame has on offense. Like I wrote earlier in this article, the offense the Irish will field this coming year is better, talent wise, than what Lamar Jackson had at Louisville last year. Better backs, receivers and line.
If you’re not excited or juiced about the potential of this offensive group, then have a seat and let me explain. You have a solid offensive line, stocked with talent that will be much improved this year playing in a system much better designed for their talents, a tremendous stable of backs with versatility and the thing that is the most promising to me: a huge and skilled wide receivers.
In 2017 Wimbush will have at his disposal a terrific amount of talent in which to accent his talent. If you have big guys that can stretch the field vertically, then you’ve won half the battle. As NFL passing game innovator Sid Gillman said, “you control the 5 vertical passing lanes you control the game”.
Guys like ESB, Claypool, Boykin, Stepherson and Alize have this ability. This group will be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. These matchups paired with a designed north-south running game will create more lanes and open field for Wimbush to manage. The potential for a monster of an offense to develop is definitely in the cards with Wimbush as the catalyst. The most important thing in 2017 is that Notre Dame will need a high scoring machine to win.
Which leads me to another point of emphasis on why Wimbush will win the Heisman this year. Our defense has major holes.
Mike Elko will work wonders for the Fighting Irish defense. The only problem is Notre Dame lacks elite talent on the defensive front and doesn’t quite have the quality depth yet to take off the pressure for the rest of the defense to completely shut down opponents.
Like it or not, the Irish will have to score a bunch this year to win. Where you’ll see improvement from Elko, is in the sound defensive fundamentals that will translate well into the future. This is the perfect formula for Wimbush to not only show off his abilities, but have the stats to demonstrate his prowess as well. What I hope Brian Kelly realizes is this kid is not Everett Golson- and it ain’t even close.
Brandon Wimbush is a whole different animal all together. Kelly shouldn’t design an offense this year to “protect” him, much like he did in 2012 with Golson. I’ve read all over the place that Kelly does a better job coaching his younger QB’s because he doesn’t put too much pressure on them to perform.
Let Wimbush do his thing. You don’t go out and buy a Lamborghini and keep it in the garage. Drive the thing. For starters, he doesn’t have the defense to rely on this year as he did in 2012, and he has a stable of studs on offense that might be even better than anything surrounding Golson that year. You don’t, and really, can’t hide a talent like Wimbush, unless you are a mentally incompetent coach. It’s a different year here and Kelly has a star waiting to shine.
To be even more bold, let me tell you how the season will start and what will push Wimbush to the front of the pack. After all, to win the Heisman, you have to win games as well as make big plays.
Notre Dame is a national brand, showcased every week and Brandon Wimbush will benefit from this fact.
- Temple Owls. The Irish will roll in this one. Temple has a first year coach and has to replace a number of key guys off the squad last year at key positions. Will they suck? Nope, but they’ll be average. Brandon Wimbush will put on a show. Get his name out there as the Irish win by 3 touchdowns.
- Georgia Bulldogs. This is game that will propel Wimbush into the spotlight. National TV at night, primetime matchup against a perennial SEC power. The thing about Georgia is they will be loaded. Always are, and always seem to struggle with the bright lights on. Georgia will literally “run” up and down the field on Notre Dame. With Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returning with a developing offensive line, it’s gonna be a long night for the Irish defense. Couple that with an improved Jacob Eason and the bulldogs will be drastically better in their second year under Kirby Smart. The thing about Georgia is their defense, while loaded with 4-5 star athletes, is wildly inconsistent. The standout recruiting class from this past year will not have developed yet, being so early in the season. This is where Kelly will have to turn Wimbush loose and go win the game. I think he will. And I think Wimbush will put on a show, running and passing all over Georgia leading the Irish to a 7 point win. Awesome stats, big win against a big name team equals good press.
- Boston College Eagles. Wimbush, maybe having a little letdown after the UGA game, plays ok early, but turns it on in the end to run away from “Fredo” to win comfortably by 24.
- Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are another big name opponent, and this time it’s on the road. East Lansing isn’t the best venue to expect Notre Dame to completely take over offensively, and yet this year is the one where Wimbush goes completely nuts. As physical and usually talented as MSU is on the defense most years, this year’s group doesn’t match up well with his skill set. The thing about Dantonio’s defense is how base and discipline they play. But to Wimbushs advantage, it usually is a straight line type of scheme, running downhill if you will. This plays right into Wimbush’s wheelhouse. He’ll not be contained, but his athletic ability will take over this game. This type of effort will solidify his role as the unquestioned threat on offense, but the most recognizable star on the most recognizable team in America.
A perfect storm as the Irish are 4-0 and on a roll. The most important occurrence here, will be how much better he makes the guys around him look, a start like this gives a team confidence. Something desperately missing from this program for a while and sometimes all you need is a guy like Wimbush to turn everything back on to light the fire. The success of the team will only add to his resume.
Again, all this is my opinion. It may be flawed, and maybe it’s a little too full of optimism, but in my years involved in this sport I’ve learned to go with my gut. My gut tells me this is gonna be a great year for Brandon Wimbush, and one that will restore a lot of the lore back into the Golden Dome. The only thing I see stopping it is, God forbid an injury, or a stubborn head coach that doesn’t realize what he has.
Here’s to hoping none of that happens. When all this occurs you can reference this article and say, “that DuBose guy is one smart son of a bitch”. If none of my predictions occur, it was because I was high on helium while writing this, and I don’t remember much. Either way, I win- which is all I really want for the Fighting Irish this year anyway. (Minus the major headache or loss of visual acuity).