Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2021

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

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72 MARCH 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI T hrough the decades, a popular inquiry among Fighting Irish faithful has been, "Who is the best quarterback ever to play at Notre Dame?" Four of them have won a Heisman Trophy, although none since 1964, in- cluding three-time national champ Johnny Lujack. Two of them — Joe Theismann and Joe Montana — later became NFL MVPs and Super Bowl winners af- ter guiding No. 2 and No. 1 finishes at Notre Dame while defeating No. 1-ranked Texas teams in the Cotton Bowl. Tony Rice directed conquests over more top teams (eight over the final Associated Press top 10) than anyone while leading a school-record 23-game winning streak, and Brady Quinn holds virtually every career passing mark after helping lead Notre Dame to two major bowls. Still, there is often a sarcastic reply to the inquiry about who the best ever is or was: "The next one." It's akin to having a yearly "Game of the Century." In this case, "the next one" would be 2021 recruit Tyler Buchner. The 6-2, 205-pound San Diego native is ranked by Rivals as the nation's No. 114 over- all prospect (four spots higher than current freshman Drew Pyne in 2020) despite not playing as a high school senior because of the COVID-19 pan- demic that was especially rife in Cali- fornia. Regarding intangibles (see page 73), Notre Dame offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees noted that Buchner's test score is "through the roof" and his retention ability is "borderline photographic." ADJUSTING TO THE NEXT LEVEL Buchner had been ranked as high as the No. 42 overall prospect in the land by Rivals and deemed a fringe five-star prospect — until last June, when is- sues were raised about his mechanics/ throwing motion at the Elite 11 camp in which he finished 18th out of 20 quarterbacks in the accuracy gauntlet. Sound familiar? Over the past four years, the same topic was raised about two of Buchner's predecessors who were top-100 recruits: Brandon Wim- bush (No. 60) in 2015, and Phil Jurk- ovec (No. 87) in 2018, who's now the starter at Boston College. Tyler Buchner's performance at the Elite 11 camp last June raised some questions about his mechanics, but Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees stated his general philosophy is to not tinker with a quarter- back's throwing motion. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM MECHANICAL ENGINEERING Developing quarterbacks is both an art and a science

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