The Notre Dame Fighting Irish recently picked up their first commitment for the Class of 2019 in quarterback Cade McNamara. McNamara hails from Reno, Nevada, and is rated by Scout as a three star prospect. Despite the modest ranking, many feel this was a solid get by the Irish staff, including 247Sports’s Tom Loy and ISD’s Jamie Uyeyama.
Cade McNamara is, admittedly, a long way from being at Notre Dame. This - in combination with his place in development as a quarterback due to a young age - makes conclusions fairly difficult to draw. However, he is likely the future quarterback at Notre Dame. So, let’s get right into figuring out what he’s bringing to the table.
Is He Ian Book Reincarnate?
A lot of the talk around Cade McNamara has, of course, revolved around his star rating and style of play. This is to be expected, and these are undeniably relevant topics to consider when a new commit comes on board. However, comparing players to one another (no matter how fun) often doesn’t tell the entire story. In spite of this, let’s briefly do it anyway.
So, is Cade McNamara the second coming of Ian Book? The short answer: no.
Whether or not you view a second Ian Book as a good or bad thing for the Fighting Irish football program, I assure you that it is not bad that Cade McNamara is not the same as Book.
There are definite parallels between the two aforementioned quarterbacks, that is accurate. Both quarterbacks are “quick operators” who make reads and get the ball out of their hands quickly, both come from similar offensive systems, and both are guys who weren’t very highly sought after like the top quarterbacks in their respective classes.
However, with McNamara we see a bit of a different passer. He, as opposed to Book, is more of a “pro-style” quarterback, is more likely to try to push the ball deep downfield, and is already making more second and third level reads than Book was.
Basically, think of this as the difference between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston a few years back. That’s far from a perfect analogy, but in the most basic sense it’s applicable here. Mariota was more of a system quarterback who kept it to short, quick passes, and was more likely to take off on a passing play. Winston, on the other hand, was a definite pro-style quarterback with a tendency to push the ball downfield, and was one who could run, but did so less often than Mariota. Of course, Ian Book is Marcus Mariota here, and McNamara is Winston.
Okay, so What Exactly are We Getting with this Kid?
Cade McNamara is not perfect. Nobody should expect him to be the next great Notre Dame signal caller at this stage. He does have sky high potential, however.
McNamara has a strong enough arm to succeed at the next level. He’s no DeShone Kizer or Brandon Wimbush, but his arm strength will suffice at Notre Dame. He’s athletic enough to make plays with his feet if he needs to, but as previously said, he’s usually not inclined to scramble unless absolutely necessary. In fact, McNamara’s feet help him most often by buying more time to make a throw rather than with running. He is exceptionally accurate with his throws, at least for high school level. He is willing to sit in the pocket and shows relatively good patience with letting the play develop when needed. Overall he has good arm talent, sufficient athletic ability, and a solid mental grasp of the game to build off of.
McNamara does not, however, consistently go through his progressions. He shows good patience as said above, but that does not happen consistently. That is to be expected at the high school level, but is something to be improved upon nonetheless. He does make the best decisions when left to go through his reads, but has thus far gotten away with it playing against high school defenses. That will have to change in college.
All in all, Brian Kelly and the offensive staff at Notre Dame landed an inexperienced quarterback that shows the potential and ability to be very, very good. He has the arm talent, and he is already putting together the mental pieces of the game. If he can stay ahead of the curve like this, he has the chance to be special.
Check out these quick highlights below and see what you think of the Irish’s newest commit!