2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

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Page 48 of 163

BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ✦ 47 QUARTERBACKS POSITION COACH Tommy Rees is entering his first season as Notre Dame's offen- sive coordinator and his fourth in charge of the quarterbacks. Since his return to his alma mater, Rees has helped the Irish compile a 33-6 record — the most wins (33) in program history in a three-year span (tying the stretch from 1988-90). In his first three seasons overseeing the quarter- backs, Rees helped his pupils set numerous program records, including season completion percentage (68.2 percent, Ian Book), passing touchdowns in a single game (five, Book) and rushing yards in a game by a quarterback (207, Brandon Wimbush). Each year during his tenure, Notre Dame has in- creased its production in the passing game. Irish quarterbacks threw for 2,326 yards and 20 touch- downs in 2017, followed by 3,347 yards and 23 scores in 2018, and 3,278 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2019. Rees added the offensive coordinator duties to his responsibilities this past December. In his first game as the play caller, the Fighting Irish racked up 455 total yards and 33 points during a victory versus Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl. Prior to taking the job at his alma mater, Rees spent one season as an offensive assistant with the San Diego Chargers. The Lake Bluff, Ill., native broke into the coaching ranks as an offensive graduate as- sistant at Northwestern in 2015. Rees posted a 23-8 record (.742 winning percent- age) as a starting quarterback for the Irish from 2010-13, and ranks in the top five in school history in 21 different single-game, single-season or career passing categories. He finished with 7,670 career yards and 61 touchdowns. As a senior in 2013, he was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 3,257 yards and 27 touchdowns. RETURNING PLAYERS IAN BOOK • QB 5th-Sr. • El Dorado Hills, Calif. Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 206 • Named Notre Dame's Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. • Selected as a top-20 finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the nation's top quarterback. • Started all 13 games at quarterback, and finished the 2019 season 240-of-399 passing for 3,034 yards with 34 touchdowns and six interceptions. Also ran 112 times for 546 yards and four scores (includes getting sacked 15 times for 78 yards). • Became the first quarterback in Notre Dame his- tory with at least 2,500 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 TD passes in a season (Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts was the only other Football Bowl Sub- division QB to reach those milestones in 2019). • His 34 passing touchdowns marked the second most in a season by an Irish QB, trailing only Brady Quinn's 37 in 2006. • Had five games with four or more passing touch- downs, the most in a Notre Dame football season, and became the first QB in school history to have multiple games with five TD passes in the same season (New Mexico, Bowling Green and Navy). Was also the first QB in school history with five TD passes in one half (Bowling Green). • His 57 career TD passes rank fourth in program history behind Brady Quinn (95), Tommy Rees (61) and Jimmy Clausen (60). • Became the first QB in school history with four passing touchdowns and 100 rushing yards in the same game, accomplishing the feat at Duke with four scores and 139 rushing yards (the third most by an Irish QB in a game since 1996). • Finished the season among the Football Bowl Subdivision leaders in passing touchdowns (sixth, 34), points responsible for (eighth, 228) and total offense (25th, 275.4). • In 2018, took over the starting quarterback job going into the Wake Forest game and held onto it the rest of the season. • Helped lead the Fighting Irish to the College Foot- ball Playoff by going 8-0 in his regular-season starts. • Finished his junior season with 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air, while tacking on 280 yards and four scores on the ground. • Ranked eighth in the nation with his 68.15 per- cent completion rate. • Saw action in 10 games and made one start as a sophomore. • Became the sixth straight Irish signal-caller to win his starting debut, going 17-of-31 passing for 146 yards with a score while also rushing for 45 yards against North Carolina. • Came off the bench and connected on 14 of 19 throws for 164 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to lead Notre Dame to a 21-17 win over LSU in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2018. • Did not play during the 2016 campaign. • Rated as a three-star prospect, the No. 57 player in California and the No. 15 pro-style quarterback nationally by Rivals. Year G-GS Com. Att. Yards TD INT 2017 10-1 46 75 456 4 4 2018 12-9 214 314 2,628 19 7 2019 13-13 240 399 3,034 34 6 Total 35-23 500 788 6,118 57 17 BRENDON CLARK • QB So. • Midlothian, Va. Ht.: 6-2• Wt.: 212 • Saw action in a pair of games as a freshman. • Made his collegiate debut against New Mexico and com- pleted one pass for a 22-yard touchdown to Braden Lenzy. • Also saw the field against Bowling Green. • Broke several records at Manchester High School with his prolific passing game, most notably the single-season marks in passing yards (2,372) and passing touchdowns (35). • Threw for 35 touchdowns and just one intercep- tion in his senior campaign. • Showed his ability to run the football as well, tallying 2,067 yards and 34 touchdowns on the ground in his prep career. • Named the USA Today Virginia Offensive Player of the Year in 2018 and was on the USA Today All-State first team in 2017. • Ranked by Rivals as a three-star prospect, the No. 12 player in Virginia and the No. 20 pro-style quarterback in the country. NEWCOMER DREW PYNE • QB Fr. • New Canaan, Conn. Ht.: 5-11½ • Wt.: 194 • Finished his prep career with 9,411 yards, 105 passing touchdowns and 35 interceptions, and added 292 rushes for 1,182 yards and 20 scores. • In 2019, threw for 2,107 yards with 24 touch- downs and seven interceptions, plus had 57 car- ries for 259 yards and eight scores. • Is New Canaan's career leader in passing yards and touchdowns. • Two-time Connecticut state champion, as well as New England regional champion. • 2019 Connecticut High School Coaches Associa- tion All-State selection. • Completed 9 of 11 passes for 121 yards with a touchdown in the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2 in Orlando, Fla. • Listed by Rivals as a four-star talent, the No. 1 player in Connecticut, and the No. 7 pro-style quarterback and No. 117 overall prospect in the country. BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ✦ 47 NOTRE DAME CAR COASTERS *PLEASE ADD TAX IF SHIPPING TO IN, MI, & NC BLUE AND GOLD ILLUSTRATED PO BOX 2331 • DURHAM, NC 27702 800-421-7751 www.BlueGoldOnline.com/store Item #6671 Size: 2.25" $13.95 FREE S&H NEW! This set of two coasters is crafted from a durable stoneware material that continu- ously absorbs moisture. These coasters have a convenient finger slot on the side, making it easy to remove for cleaning.

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