The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
#7 Brendon Clark, Quarterback
Brendon Clark came to Notre Dame last fall from Midlothian, Virginia as a recruit that many couldn’t help but compare to current starting quarterback Ian Book.
Unlike the Brandon Wimbushes and Phil Jurkovecs (Jurkoveces? Jurkovecen?) of the world who arrived with high recruiting ratings and lots of “QB of the Future” talk, Clark, like Book, was a 3-star QB originally committed to play for a less-than-blue-blood program — Book first committed to Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars, while Clark was originally pledged to play for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Clark only received a committable offer to be ND’s class of 2019 QB after 4-star Cade McNamara, the Irish’s original committed guy in that class, de-committed and instead chose to play at Michigan (that sound you hear is me retching uncontrollably).
So, Clark strode onto campus in 2019 as the clear #3 guy behind Ian Book and Phil Jurkovec, who was still considered the next-big-thing-in-waiting. Thus, #7 played very little in his first season, appearing in the two biggest blowout wins the Irish had, against the New Mexico Lobos and Bowling Green Falcons.
Clark only got two pass attempts off in his limited time, but made his presence known against the Lobos when he threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Braden Lenzy.
Of course, it was a WR screen that Lenzy managed to deftly snag, wiggle through tacklers, and turn into a big play, but still — Clark got the ball out there to the shifty, speedy play-maker!
Overall, Clark finished 2019 with 1-of-2 passing for 22 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 33 yards on a nice little 6.6 yards-per-carry average.
Ronnie Bass from Remember the Titans
Clark is still a bit of an unknown, but he is the only non-true-frosh backup the Irish have behind clear-QB1 Ian Book. If you will recall, the 1971 T.C. Williams Titans had a similar situation, with a clear-cut, veteran starter (Jerry “Rev” Harris) backed up by an unproven, unknown new guy — Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass.
I am knocking on all the wood in my apartment that Notre Dame will not have a similar injury situation with Book as the Titans did when Rev broke his wrist early in the year, but if so, I think Clark will surprise some people in that he can be a similar QB to Book — reliable, smart with the ball, and can make a few plays with his legs. Does that remind you of anyone???
Here’s to hoping we only discover that in garbage time of some games, though! The 2020 Fighting Irish, like a lot of teams, reeeeally need their starter to stay healthy in order to have any shot at competing for the CFP.
With Phil Jurkovec having transferred to play for the Boston College Eagles, Clark will almost certainly begin the 2020 season as the #2 guy behind Book, who we all know has returned for his 5th and final season in an Irish uniform.
Incoming freshman Drew Pyne likely won’t be ready to really push for the backup role, so expect to see Clark a decent amount this season — especially in blowouts — and to see more of his seemingly solid, athletic play running the #2 offense.