Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2021

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

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80 MARCH 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? The former prized recruit has become renowned as 'The Exceptional Presenter' BY LOU SOMOGYI H yperbole is an annual ritual in football recruiting, especially at quarterback — and particularly at Notre Dame. Incoming Fighting Irish signal-call- ers Tyler Buchner and Ron Powlus III are the most recent examples with a link to both the past and present. Buchner is "the next big thing," similar to Phil Jurkovec in 2018, while Powlus' father of the same name was projected by ESPN's Beano Cook as one who would win not one but two Heismans at Notre Dame. Fourteen years ago, Jimmy Clausen was heralded as "the LeBron James of high school football" — but the guy recruited the next year, five-star Dayne Crist, could be even better. Another five-star, Gunner Kiel in 2012, was a legacy recruit of 1980-83 Irish and NFL quarterback Blair Kiel, his uncle. And then there was Tim Koegel, teammates with the elder Kiel in 1980-81. The quarterback for superpower Cincinnati Moeller High in 1974-76, coached by Gerry Faust, Koegel was so advanced and accomplished — he completed an unheard-of 76 percent of his passes at Moeller — that NFL Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown, co-founder of the Cleveland Browns, report- edly claimed the youngster could go straight to the NFL from high school. The now 62-year-old Koegel doesn't remember when he heard it, but he doesn't recall giving it much thought, if any. "I'm sure at the time he said it in jest, probably as a compliment," Koegel said. "But there is no way I thought he actually thought I could go directly to the pros — no way any- one could have. "It wasn't something for me like, 'Oh, well maybe I should jump to the NFL.' It's different now with some of these high school kids and the ad- vancements in the system, the indi- vidual training, speed coaches, the Elite 11 camps. "High school offenses today are what college offenses were like 20-25 years ago, and college offenses are what the NFL was five years ago. They've become so much more so- phisticated." Any delusions of instant grandeur also were quickly squelched for Koe- gel once he arrived at Notre Dame. Already on the roster were Parade All- Americans — the "five-star" standard back in the 1970s — Joe Montana and Gary Forystek, plus future five-year NFL quarterback Rusty Lisch. Oh, and in Koegel's class alone were four other all-state quarterbacks, among them fellow Parade selection Mike Courey, future nine-year NFL tight end Pete Holohan (a flanker at Notre Dame) and Greg Knafelc, who was on an NFL roster for three years. "Going into Notre Dame, it's a very humbling experience," said Koegel, who saw older brothers Vic and Steve star for Ohio State under Woody Hayes. "That first year, you're on the prep-team offense against a defense that has Ross Browner, Wil- lie Fry, Luther Bradley, Bob Golic. … You're thinking, 'These are men, and we are boys.'" NOTRE DAME AND THE NEXT CHAPTERS After apprenticing behind Mon- tana his first two seasons (high- lighted by the 1977 national title) and then Lisch as a 1979 junior, Koegel saw two more "five-star" quarter- backs enroll his senior year in 1980: Parade's No. 1 and No. 3 picks, Scott Grooms and Kiel, respectively, with Kiel eventually taking over as the starter in the fourth game. In a practice before game two against Michigan that season, Koe- gel suffered a neck injury that would require him to take a medical redshirt — but not before his final play that campaign as the holder for Harry Ol- iver's epic 51-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Michigan, 29-27. With Faust hired in 1981 to succeed head coach Dan Devine — whose system never quite suited Koegel's drop-back skills — Koegel started four times before the sophomore Kiel was tabbed as the future. Koegel nearly made the Denver Broncos roster as a rookie free agent before attending law school for a semester at Notre Dame. That en- suing spring in 1983, the USFL was formed and Koegel ended up play- ing for Pro Football Hall of Fame coaches George Allen and Marv Levy while with the Chicago Blitz, and opted not to go into the legal profession. By 1986 the USFL had folded, so he became a broker and financial consultant in Newport Beach, Ca- lif., while also trying out with the NFL's nearby Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders. Ultimately, he never let football define him. "It was such a comfortable feel- ing with the students," he said of his Notre Dame recruiting visit. "I felt like I didn't want to go to a school with the separate athlete dorms or the separate training table and sepa- rate academic standards. "When I visited, I thought there was a lot of respect by the students toward the athletes because the ath- letes weren't put on some pedestal like they are at a lot of schools where they don't even have contact with the regular students." Koegel was a Parade All-American at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, but the competition for playing time at quarterback at Notre Dame was fierce. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Tim Koegel, 1977-81 Quarterback

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