Blue and Gold Illustrated

BGI April 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 36 of 55 APRIL 2019 37 BY BRYAN DRISKELL For the fourth straight year, Notre Dame has kicked off its recruiting class with one of the nation's premier quarterbacks. Tyler Buchner, a stand- out at The Bishop's School in San Di- ego, did the honors for the 2021 class when he committed to the Fighting Irish March 8. Rivals and ESPN have yet to re- lease their rankings for the rising ju- nior class, but 247Sports tabbed Bu- chner as a four-star talent, the No. 2 prospect in California, and the No. 2 pro-style quarterback and No. 49 overall player in the country. Three trips to South Bend in a three-month span sealed the deal for Buchner, who has already made more than 30 college visits despite being just a sophomore in high school. "There were a couple major factors that made the decision easy," Buch- ner said of his early pledge. "One, I don't think there's another place in the country where you can compete for a national championship and get a [great] college education like Notre Dame. "Just from talking to students and players and coaches and faculty, you really learn that place is special. People that go to Notre Dame really love it." Buchner 's most recent visit to Notre Dame occurred Feb. 23, and it was that trip that brought clarity for the California native. After getting the opportunity to sit down with of- fensive coordinator Chip Long and talk about the offense and how he fit, the young passer determined it was the perfect match. "Fit-wise I don't think there's a place that better fits me as a quar- terback," Buchner said. "In Coach Long's offense, they are super ag- gressive with their play calling, they love airing it out, but the quarterback … definitely gets to make plays with his feet." This was Buchner 's second com- mitment to a college, but his first — and he says his last — for football. Inside Lacrosse ranked Buchner as a five-star lacrosse recruit, and his earliest offers came in that sport. He committed to Michigan lacrosse as an eighth grader, but even then his mind was always on football. "I planned on playing lacrosse be- cause I was always good at lacrosse; I played since I was little," said Bu- chner, who also shines on the basket- ball court. "… I didn't know where I stacked up against my peers [in foot- ball], so I committed to Michigan [for lacrosse]. "I just figured why not, it's a nice backup, but I always thought in the back of my mind I love football and if I ever start getting offers in football that's what I'm going to do." The first football offer came from UCLA prior to Buchner 's freshman season of high school. The follow- ing summer, he made his first trip to South Bend for a Notre Dame skills camp. After the testing portion of the camp, Irish quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees approached Buchner. "Coach Rees asked me, 'Are you fishing for an offer or do you want to go to school here?'" Buchner re- counted. "I said, 'I want to go to school here.' He was like, 'Play well and I might offer you.' "I ended up playing pretty well." Rees offered Buchner during the camp after he shined during throw- ing drills, and that early encounter proved impactful. Buchner liked the honesty and genuine nature of Rees' interactions with him. "The second I first met him I was like, 'I like this guy,'" Buchner ex- plained. "… He wasn't in my ear, look at how we did this so much bet- ter than everyone else. Everyone I talked to at Notre Dame loves Coach Rees. "He's obviously a great guy, and super smart on the field and in the film room. He's a very genuine guy, he's very real, which I really re- spected and appreciated." That bond led to Buchner mak- ing a return trip to Notre Dame Sept. 29 to watch the Irish take on Stanford, which happened to be his No. 2 school. The 38-17 Notre Dame victory made an impression on the young quarterback. He returned again in February and knew it was time to end things. Buchner made a trip the following weekend to Stanford, but he knew where he wanted to be. "I had no intentions of commit- ting early when I started looking at it," Buchner explained. "I actually never even thought about it at all. It came down to Notre Dame and why would I go anywhere else. "… I didn't want to make an emo- tional decision and commit the next day, I was definitely going to wait a week or two. Stanford's a great place, and it was down to Notre Dame and Stanford — but there's not another place like Notre Dame." ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Tyler Buchner has impressive arm strength for a young player; even as a freshman and sophomore he showed the power to get the ball down the field and to put zip on intermediate throws over the middle … Arm gets through the throwing zone quickly, which combined with his power allows him to make all the throws you want for a player his age … Good build for a quarterback, has the potential to get well over 200 pounds with a thick, athletic build … Athletic player that can do damage in the run game. Areas For Improvement Missed all but one quarter of his sophomore season with a knee injury, so his health remains a question until he returns to action … Like all young players he must continue adding strength and refining his technique … At times, his foot- work gets his body out of position and throws off his ability to be accurate throwing the ball. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE TYLER BUCHNER 'No Place Like Notre Dame' For California Quarterback 247Sports rates Buchner as a four-star prospect, the No. 2 player in California, and the No. 2 pro- style passer and No. 49 overall recruit nationally. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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