Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2020

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

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68 MARCH 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI T hroughout the 2019 football season, whenever the topic of whether senior quarterback Ian Book would return for his fifth season of eligibility (he redshirted as a freshman in 2016) arose, one response was inevitable. "If he comes back, Phil Jurkovec probably will transfer." Indeed, on Jan. 8, 11 days after Book made it official on Dec. 29 that he would return in 2020, it was learned that Jurkovec's name was in the NCAA transfer portal and that he would take his talents elsewhere. That elsewhere turned out to be Boston College under new head coach Jeff Hafley, where Jurkovec will seek a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible in 2020 rather than have to sit out a season. The former top-100 prospect has three years of eligibility remaining af- ter redshirting as a freshman in 2018 and playing sparingly in mop-up situ- ations this past season as a sophomore. Jurkovec appeared in six games in 2019, mainly in blowout wins (and a blowout defeat at Michigan). He completed 12 of 16 passes (75.0 per- cent) for 222 yards with two touch- downs and added 22 carries for 130 yards (5.9 yards per rush), finishing sixth on the team in that category. Jurkovec starred at Pine-Richland High School in Pittsburgh, and was ranked as the No. 5 dual-threat quar- terback and No. 87 prospect overall nationally by Rivals. As a senior, he completed 72.8 percent of his passes for 3,969 yards with 39 touchdowns and six interceptions, and also rushed for 1,211 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and 24 touchdowns, while producing a 16-0 record and the school's first- ever 6A state championship. Jurkovec was named the Gatorade Player of the Year, the Class 6A Player of the Year and USA Today's Offensive Player of the Year in Pennsylvania. Minus Jurkovec, Notre Dame's quarterback situation still will have three scholarship players on the ros- ter this spring: Book; current fresh- man Brendon Clark, who appeared in three contests last season in short stints; and incoming freshman Drew Pyne, who enrolled at Notre Dame Jan. 13. THREE'S A CROWD … AND SOMETIMES EVEN TWO It was virtually a fait accompli that one of the three backups to the in- cumbent Book this spring — Jurk- ovec, Clark or Pyne — would trans- fer by 2021, after Book's eligibility was exhausted. It would be Jurkovec if Clark or Pyne won the position in the spring of 2021 (or moved ahead of him prior to the 2020 campaign). It would be Clark if Jurkovec won the job and Pyne leapfrogged him for the No. 2 spot. Or it would be Pyne if he remained No. 3 through at least 2021, with the specter of potential top-25 recruit Tyler Buchner enrolling. That's just how it rolls at major col- lege programs today. If a school such as Notre Dame is going to recruit at the high level it does, those top-tier quarterbacks are going to want to play within at least two years. Four scholarship quarterbacks with four-star level ratings are too crowded a room at one college pro- gram. Sometimes even two can be. • That's why Georgia's five-star recruit Justin Fields — who was rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in 2018 — transferred to Ohio State, where he was available to start im- mediately in 2019. For that matter, same with former five-star Georgia quarterback re- cruit Jacob Eason when he opted to transfer to Washington after five-star freshman Jake Fromm replaced him in 2017 following an injury to Eason. • That's why Ohio State's Joe Bur- row departed to LSU when he fell to No. 3 — and two years later won the Heisman Trophy as well as the national title. • That's why Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts moved from Alabama to Okla- homa for his final season. He was not going to play ahead of Tua Tago- vailoa. This is the way of big-time college PREDICTABLE MOVE Phil Jurkovec joins a long line of quarterback transfers Jurkovec appeared in six games in 2019, and completed 12 of 16 throws (75.0 percent) for 222 yards with two touchdowns while also rushing for 130 yards on 22 attempts (5.9 yards per carry). PHOTO BY JAMES GILBERT

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