It is never, under any circumstances, a good idea to have a recruiting class without a quarterback.
In 2016, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish weren’t the top pick for any of the first nine quarterbacks they pursued.
Mike Sanford, then the quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, convinced the staff to take a closer look at a player he was recruiting while working for the Boise State Broncos.
That player was Ian Book, who decommitted from the Washington State Cougars, to join Notre Dame’s class. He was so unheralded that no reporter asked Brian Kelly about him during the coach’s near-hour Signing Day news conference.
What’s exciting about the 517th ranked player, No. 20 pro-style quarterback and No. 58 player in California?
Those who look past Brendon Clark — No. 507 in the Class of 2019, No. 21 pro-style quarterback and No. 15 player in Virginia — do so at their own peril.
Lacing up the Golden Glove to match his golden arm is @bren_clark17.— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) December 19, 2018
The Virginia native is as tough as they come and knows how to lead an offense to victory. #GoIrish ☘️ #FightClub19 pic.twitter.com/u7QHOCjoj1
Sure, the Irish initially had Cade McNamara, who brought more on-paper sizzle to the class, before the Reno, Nev. product decommitted and inexplicably joined the Michigan Wolverines.
But Clark’s senior season numbers were eye-popping: He completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,327 yards, threw 35 touchdowns and just one interception. In addition, he scampered to an additional 17 scores on 774 yards rushing in a year in which the Manchester Lancers won a state championship.
Like Book, Clark was previously committed to another school before joining the Irish. The three-star was once in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons’ class.
Clark is a guaranteed redshirt in his freshman campaign, which will begin in June. He’ll be behind Book (two years eligibility remaining) and Phil Jurkovec (four years).
.@bren_clark17's innate ability to beat you both passing and running, paired with his blue collar competitive and tough nature, led his team to an undefeated season and State Title.— Tommy Rees (@T_Rees11) December 19, 2018
The guy is dripping in grit.
The Red Army can't wait to add him to the family. pic.twitter.com/iFnhWGhJ0M
The prospect told the South Bend Tribune that he is looking forward to improving his mental acumen and ingesting the playbook.
Grit. Smart. Attitude. Laser Focus. Attention to Detail.— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) December 19, 2018
That's Brendon Clark to a 'T'. Welcome to the team! #GraduatingChampions pic.twitter.com/R0rkZdckhp