Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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10 NOV. 4, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME JD Bertrand Named Finalist For Major Academic Award JD Bertrand is not just Notre Dame's lead- ing tackler. He's also one of the most intel- ligent players in the program — and in the country, too. Bertrand was recently named one of 16 finalists for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded annually by the National Football Foundation to the player who is the absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. Bertrand will receive an $18,000 postgradu- ate scholarship with a chance to have that bumped to $25,000 when the winner is an- nounced in Las Vegas Dec. 5. A fifth-year graduate student, Bertrand had a 3.62 GPA as a marketing major before embarking on a master's in business ana- lytics. Bertrand was an Eagle Scout before arriving at Notre Dame, and ever since his arrival, he has played an integral role in giving back to the South Bend community. On the field, Bertrand led Notre Dame with 101 total tackles in 2021 and 82 in 2022. Through eight games in 2023, he ranked first on the roster with 52. He's a two-year team captain who has been a rock in the middle of the Notre Dame season since being elevated to starting status in the 2021 season opener at Florida State. — Tyler Horka The quarterback carousel won't stop spinning in South Bend. One month before the end of the 2023 regular season, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman was asked if the Fighting Irish would go to the transfer portal yet again, for a third time in four years, to find a starting QB. His answer definitely was not "no." "All options right now are in consideration," he said. Notre Dame brought in Jack Coan from Wisconsin in 2021. He started all 13 games in a season in which the Irish went 11-2. This season, Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman has started every game for the Irish. Hartman, a sixth-year graduate student, is out of eligibility at the end of the year. He's been grooming sophomore Steve Angeli and freshman Kenny Minchey for the next phases of their respective careers. If Notre Dame does not look to the portal, one of those two quarterbacks is next year's likely starter when the Irish open the season at Texas A&M. "The most important thing they benefit from is the preparation," Freeman said of Hartman taking the younger duo under his wing. "How they prepare throughout the week outside of the time that's permitted through the NCAA rules, the four hours we get with them a day and then on Saturday. The preparations of watching film, a routine, pre-practice routine, post-practice routine, that's the biggest addition they've received from Sam Hartman." If Hartman starts Notre Dame's final five games of the season, though, Angeli won't have a single start to his name at the college level. Obviously, neither will Minchey. Drew Pyne started 10 games for Notre Dame last sea- son, and Tyler Buchner started three. The Irish still went to the portal to pluck Hartman out of Winston-Salem, N.C., after half a decade there. It would come as no surprise to see Freeman do the same thing because he has an even less experienced quarterback room entering 2024 than he did going into 2023. Freeman said he's going to gather his coaching staff during Notre Dame's second bye week (Nov. 11) to assess the team's quarterback situation for next season. "I feel really good about the future of our program at the quarterback position with the guys we have coming in, with the guys we have here," Freeman said. "But you look at numbers, too, right? Most rosters have four quarterbacks on scholarship, which we lost when Tyler left. So we've been in discussions on what we want to do. Do you want to take another quarter- back, or do you not? We have three quarterbacks on scholarship right now." Those three in 2024 will be Angeli, Minchey and incoming four-star fresh- man CJ Carr, the No. 6 quarterback in his class according to the On3 Industry Ranking. The No. 4 quarterback in the class of 2025, Deuce Knight, commit- ted to the Fighting Irish in September. Carr and/or Knight could be the future of Notre Dame football, but every season is its own story. Freeman isn't looking to skip ahead in the book. The pages detailing the events of 2024 are just as important as the ones describ- ing 2025 and beyond. As it stands, the chapters delineating Notre Dame's quarterback circumstances for next year are left largely unwritten. "But again, I'm really pleased with the growth and confident with the growth and performance of Kenny and Steve Angeli," Freeman said. — Tyler Horka Marcus Freeman Addresses 2024 Quarterback Situation Bertrand was named one of 16 finalists for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is given annually to the individual who best exemplifies combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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