Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2023

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

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54 APRIL 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED I t has become predictable and ele- mentary logic: Once you have more than four — or sometimes even more than three — scholarship quarterbacks on the Notre Dame roster, a transfer, if not a position change, is inevitable. In a 25-year recruiting period from 1984 (four quarterbacks signed that year) to 2008 (Dayne Crist signed that year), Notre Dame inked 33 quarterback prospects. Twenty-three of them (69.7 percent) ended up either transferring, moving to another position or sport, or seeing their football career truncated because of an injury. It's a volatile position that is the most prone to attrition. Thus, news of freshman Gunner Kiel's plans to transfer is hardly a "Where did that come from?" situation. Since the 1977 national title season, Kiel became the 21st quarterback to transfer from Notre Dame, about one per 1.7 seasons. [Since this article was originally published, five more quarter- backs have transferred from Notre Dame, bringing the average to one per 1.8 sea- sons. See the chart for the full list.] Other positions are not immune to transfers, but football coaches can use three running backs in a game, six or more receivers and several tight ends, rotate linemen or linebackers, play nickel coverage … Quarterback, on the other hand, is a singular entity. You are either The Man or not, and the latter is usually made clear. For Kiel, the evidence was pointing to Everett Golson lining up as the probable starter at Notre Dame through 2015, and there was no assurance that Kiel even would be No. 2 by then. It's no different from 2013 Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco, who was on the Pitt sidelines at Notre Dame Stadium in 2004 when starting Panthers quarterback Tyler Palko became the first player ever to throw 5 touchdown passes in a game against the Irish during a 41-38 Pitt victory. Flacco was only a sophomore, but Palko had eligibility through 2006. To market himself better, Flacco trans- ferred to Football Championship Sub- division school Delaware, became a first-round pick and has prospered. It became a sensible business decision. Of course, for every Flacco, there are dozens of other examples of quarter- backs whose careers plateaued in col- lege (if not high school). Let's face it, when you're a five-star quarterback recruit, a la Kiel, future NFL dollar signs start racing through your mind, and becoming antsy to showcase your wares is natural. Some might re- fer to it as "entitlement," while others might see it as "finding the right fit." By now, we should all know how the drill works at Notre Dame, or other places: • Veteran QB Paul Failla is leapfrogged by "Next Big Thing" Ron Powlus, in 1994, so Failla opts for baseball instead. • Sophomore Zak Kustok falls behind freshman Arnaz Battle in the pecking order in 1998, so Kustok leaves to star at nearby Northwestern. • Freshman "Boy Wonder" Matt LoVecchio helps the Irish to a BCS bid in 2000, but by next season classmate Car- lyle Holiday supplants him and in 2002 LoVecchio bolts for Indiana University. • Christian Olsen, the MVP of the 2003 Blue Gold Game, is trying to push Holiday for the starting role … but as soon as freshman Brady Quinn moves past him that August, Olsen packs his bags for Virginia. Thus, when both Zach Frazer and De- metrius Jones enrolled in 2006, it was easy to conclude one wouldn't finish his career here — especially once Jimmy Clausen drove up in a Hummer limou- sine in 2007 to announce he, too, was signing up. As it turned out, both Frazer and Jones departed. The better Notre Dame's practice field becomes, the more probable it is for some non-starters, especially at quarterback, to wonder about greener pastures elsewhere. It is the trade-off to constantly striv- ing to become better. ✦ Junior Drew Pyne was the 26th quarterback to transfer from Notre Dame since 1977. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER BEST OF THE FIFTH QUARTER ✦ LOU SOMOGYI ✦ APRIL 2013 QB Transfers Part Of Life At Notre Dame EDITOR'S NOTE: The late, great Lou Somogyi possessed an unmatched knowledge of Notre Dame football, and it was his mission in life to share it with others. Those of us at Blue & Gold Illustrated would like to continue to provide his wisdom and unique perspective from his more than 37 years covering the Fighting Irish for this publication. A POSITION OF TRANSFER Here's a chronological list of the quarter- backs who left the Notre Dame program since 1977, with the year they were recruited in parentheses (the list was updated with the five quarterbacks who have transferred since this article was originally published in 2013): Rick Buehner (1977) — Kentucky Randy Wright (1979) — Wisconsin Eddie Hornback (1979) — Mississippi State Scott Grooms (1980) — Miami (Ohio), but returned to Notre Dame a year later Ken Karcher (1981) — Tulane Joe Felitsky (1983) — Pittsburgh Duke St. Pierre (1984) — Boston College Kent Graham (1987) — Ohio State Jake Kelchner (1989) — West Virginia B.J. Hawkins (1990) — Virginia Wade Smith (1992) — Louisville Gus Ornstein (1994) — Michigan State Eric Chappell (1996) — Alabama A&M Zak Kustok (1997) —Northwestern Matt LoVecchio (2000) — Indiana Christian Olsen (2002) — Virginia David Wolke (2004) — Western Kentucky Zach Frazer (2006) — Connecticut Demetrius Jones (2006) — Cincinnati, and then Division II Central State Dayne Crist (2008) — Kansas (but graduated from Notre Dame) Gunner Kiel (2012) — Cincinnati Everett Golson (2011) — Florida State Malik Zaire (2013) — Florida Brandon Wimbush (2015) — Central Florida Phil Jurkovec (2018) — Boston College Drew Pyne (2020) — Arizona State Notes: One other quarterback who might be included is Paul Failla, who played from 1991- 93 but opted for baseball after Ron Powlus was anointed the starter. Failla was a third-round pick in the Major League Baseball Draft, but then used his final year of NCAA eligibility at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1998.

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