Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2021

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

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18 FEBRUARY 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MIKE SINGER W hen Notre Dame started showing interest, it became pretty clear to Jack Coan where he wanted to be. The 6-3, 221-pound quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers entered the transfer portal on Dec. 20 after four years with the Badgers. Notre Dame wasn't the only program that showed interest in Coan, but when it came down to decision time he ended up with the school with which he had a strong prior relationship. "When Jack went into the portal, it attracted some attention," said Rob Hoss, Coan's former prep head coach at Sayville (N.Y.) High. "Notre Dame is a school that he was originally committed to play lacrosse for. There was a ton of interest in Notre Dame for Jack before football really popped for him, but things didn't work out of high school for him to go there. "During conversations with Jack and what we were looking at in a school, his goals and who could coach him up to possibly get to the next level, we felt that Notre Dame had so much to offer. In addition, it's the school he was originally commit- ted to as a 10th grader. It was just like it came full circle." The Fighting Irish had a couple of conversations with Coan between the time he entered the portal and the 31-14 loss to Alabama Jan. 1 that ended their season, but contact didn't pick up hot and heavy between the two parties until Jan. 2. Coan an- nounced his decision two days later. "Things picked up after the season ended," Hoss said. "Conversations were pretty consistent. He was far along with some other schools, but he wanted to be patient and try to figure out what was best for him. You don't have a second chance at a last year, so you want to make sure it's a fit for both. It just worked. "Communication progressed be- tween them and us, and Coach [Tommy] Rees and Jack had multiple conversations. It just fit. It was a place where Jack really wanted to be. It feels like he'll fit that locker room culture." Coan suffered a right foot injury during a fall camp practice Oct. 3 and had successful surgery four days later. He was available to play in the Badgers' final two games of the 2020 season, but the Wisconsin staff opted to stick with their quarterback of the future, Graham Mertz, to ride out the season. Any narrative that Notre Dame is getting Wisconsin's second choice at quarterback is simply incorrect, per Jon McNamara of "Jack Coan went into the spring and fall as Wisconsin's starting quar- terback," McNamara stated. "He was absolutely Wisconsin's top quarter- back on the roster. I think you saw why that was the case as Wiscon- sin's season [4-3 record] unfolded last year. "It wasn't like [second-year quar- terback] Graham Mertz passed him up on the depth chart. Had he been healthy, Coan would've been Wis- consin's starting quarterback, and ex- pectations were very high for him." Coan started all 14 games for Wis- consin in 2019 and completed 236 of 339 (69.6 percent) attempts for 2,727 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also added four rushing scores while leading the Bad- gers to a 10-4 record, a spot in the Big Ten title game (a 34-21 loss to Ohio State) and a berth in the Rose Bowl (a 28-27 defeat versus Oregon). Per Pro Football Focus, Coan was at his best during the 2019 season when throwing between the num- bers in the 10- to 20-yard range, com- pleting 16 of 25 passes for 328 yards with three touchdowns and one in- terception. He also excelled throwing to the outside right past 20 yards, completing 8 of 11 throws for 243 yards with four scores and one pick. "Don't expect a whole lot of scram- bling, although he is athletic," McNa- mara explained. "He is very much a pro-style quarterback. He has a great command of the offense, and makes the right throws and decisions. FULL CIRCLE Former Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan will finally make his way to Notre Dame Coan was committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse as a sophomore in high school, but ended up playing football at Wisconsin. He started 18 games under center for the Badgers and produced a 12-6 record. PHOTO BY DAVID STLUKA/COURTESY WISCONSIN ATHLETICS

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