A few weeks ago, I broke down how the top wide receiver in the last 16 Notre Dame recruiting classes had fared out of a conversation sprung from the Jordan Johnson debate. It was an interesting look that forced us to rethink a few things, and in doing so, it made me curious about the other position groups.
So here we are... let’s do the quarterbacks. The top quarterback commit from each recruiting class since 2005 according to the 247 Composite rankings.
2005 — 3-Star Evan Sharpley
Evan Sharpley came to Notre Dame right before the sensational junior year of Brady Quinn. He took a redshirt as a freshman, and as a sophomore he only attempted two passes in 8 game appearances. Sharpley’s junior year in 2007 would be the pinnacle of his time at Notre Dame on the football field. He saw action in 8 games and started against USC and Navy. In his final two years at Notre Dame, Evan played in 6 games and only attempted 5 passes — all in 2008.
2006 — 4-Star Demetrius Jones
Demetrius Jones redshirted his freshman year — and then the crazy happened. After a highly publicized quarterback competition that started in the spring of 2007, Jones was the game 1 starter for 2007. In that game against Georgia Tech, he completed just one pass and rushed for 28 yards on 12 carries before he was finally replaced by Evan Sharpley. Jones stayed in South Bend as the Irish traveled to play the Michigan Wolverines in the third game of the season, and shortly after that he transferred to play for the Cincinnati Bearcats. In Cincy, Jones played linebacker for a couple of years before finishing his college career as a tight end for Central State.
2007 — 5-Star Jimmy Clausen
Jimmy enrolled early at Notre Dame to put himself in a position to play right away with the massive loss of Brady Quinn to the NFL. After seeing limited action in the first game of 2007, Clausen was named the starter in game 2. In all, Clausen ended up starting 9 of the 12 games and was 3-6 with 1254 yards, 7 TD, and 6 INT. Jimmy would go on to have a wonderful junior year despite a 6-6 record with a 68% completion percentage, 3722 yards with 28 touchdowns and 4 INT. He for the NFL Draft at the end of his junior year.
2008 — 5-Star Dayne Crist
Crist redshirted his freshman year and saw limited action in 2009 as Clausen’s backup — when he also tore his ACL in a game against Washington State. In 2010 Dayne was the starting quarterback, but suffered a season ending knee injury against Tulsa. Before that injury, Crist was completing almost 60 % of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Crist was yanked at halftime of the first game of the 2011 season in favor of Tommy Rees, and played a disastrous role in the 2011 home loss to USC. Dayne used a graduate transfer to play for Kansas in 2012.
2009 — NO QUARTERBACK COMMITS
It’s hard to recruit quarterbacks after signing 5-Star in consecutive classes — and with minimal success on the field. Notre Dame only offered a couple of 3-Star QB’s, Casey Paschall and Jon Bu
2010 — 4-Star Andrew Hendrix
Andrew Hendrix redshirted his freshman year, and saw limited action over the next 3 years with 14 games played, a 43% completion rate for 360 yards a touchdown and 2 interceptions. Hendrix used a graduate transfer to play for Miami-Ohio where he tore it up with 3280 yards in the air with 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, and 324 yards on the ground with 6 scores.
2011 — 4-Star Everett Golson
Golson redshirted his freshman year, but became the starter in 2012 — thanks in some part to Tommy Rees having a little fun off campus. Everett was suspended in 2013 due to some academic mishaps, but returned in 2014 to become the starter once again. After a highly publicized quarterback competition with Malik Zaire in the spring of 2015, Golson transferred to Florida State. During his 2 year career on the field at Notre Dame, Everett accounted for 5850 passing yards with 41 touchdowns and 20 interceptions to go along with 581 yards on the ground with 14 touchdowns.
2012 — 5-Star Gunner Kiel
Gunner Kiel enrolled early in 2012, and then transferred to the Cincinnati Bearcats.
2013 — 4-Star Malik Zaire
Malik Zaire redshirted his freshman year, but as a sophomore he raised a lot of eyebrows late in the 2014 season. He became the defacto starter in 2015 after the departure of Everett Golson. Against the Texas Longhorns in his first start of 2015, Zaire went 19-22 for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns. The next week he suffered a season ending injury against Virginia. There was a messy quarterback competition in 2016 with DeShone Kizer in which they went into the first game of the year as 1A and 1B — but it didn’t end that way as Kizer took over as the starter. Zaire transferred to Florida where he played in 4 games.
2014 — 4-Star DeShone Kizer
Kizer redshirted his freshman year and almost quit football altogether. Instead he became the starter for most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons with similar stat lines that accounted for 5805 yards, 47 TD, and 19 INTs — along with 997 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. Kizer left two years of eligibility on the table when he entered the 2017 NFL Draft.
2015 — 4-Star Brandon Wimbush
Brandon saw action in a couple of games as a freshman in 2015, but took a redshirt in 2016 — all of which was because of Kizer and Zaire. In 2017 he took over as the starter and threw for 1870 yards, 16 TD, and 6 INT’s to go along with 804 yards on the ground and a school QB record 14 touchdowns. Ian Book finally took over for Wimbush in the bowl game after late season struggles plagued him. Brandon started 2018 as the starter, but after 2 lackluster performances early in the season — he was supplanted by Book. Wimbush transferred to UCF before the 2019 season where he saw action in 5 games as a quarterback.
2016 — 3-Star Ian Book
Ian Book redshirted as a freshman, and then he went on to become the winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history with two undefeated regular seasons with two playoff berths. Book’s career saw 8948 passing yards, 72 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. He also ran for 1517 yards and 17 touchdowns.
2017 — 4-Star Avery Davis
Davis redshirted his freshman year, but was then moved around between the secondary and wide receiver.
2018 — 4-Star Phil Jurkovec
Phil took a redshirt as a freshman, but still saw action in a couple of games. As a sophomore he played in limited time as the backup in 6 games and completed 75 % of his passes for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jurkovec transferred to Boston College shortly after Ian Book announced a return for a 5th year in 2020. Phil started right away for the Eagles and in 10 games he threw for 2558 yards with 17 touchdowns and 5 INT.
2019 — 3-Star Brendon Clark
Brendon Clark saw action in three games combined in 2019 and 2020. He underwent knee surgery in 2020, and was unable to participate in 2021’s spring practices.
2020 — 4-Star Drew Pyne
Drew Pyne became Ian Book’s primary backup after Clark went down with an injury. Pyne played in two games and completed 2 passes for 12 yards. Pyne battled incoming transfer Jack Coan in the spring of 2021 for the starting job — that’s still to be determined in fall camp.