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Quarterback Options for 2023

Notre Dame wrapped up an incredibly inconsistent regular season this passed Saturday with a disappointing road loss to USC, and will likely receive a middle of the road bowl bid before the conclusion of the 2022 college football season. If you're like me, you can't help but look ahead to a more optimistic future, which as of right now, is marred with question marks. Notre Dame recently had one big question answered in the secondary, as it was announced that corner Cam Hart would return for a fifth season. There is, however, one large question mark looming over the heads of Irish fans: Who will be under center next fall? The Irish have a plethora of options within the program, as well as some in the portal. Let's evaluate some of these options and form a realistic prediction


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Tyler Buchner - Irish fans have been chomping at the bit to see the true potential of a once top-100 recruit in Tyler Buchner. Unfortunately, for the third straight season, Buchner's development was put on pause. He missed his senior year of highschool due to covid, and we only saw glimpses in his freshman season, but the results were promising. The start of his 2022 campaign was underwhelming to say the least, and then a shoulder injury sidelined the young quarterback for the remainder of the season. Buchner struggled early, only passing for 378 yards in his first two starts, with zero touchdowns to two interceptions. I don't think Buchner is entirely to blame for the lackluster offensive output, as the offensive line and playcalling certainly weren't doing him any favors early in the season. I think if Buchner didn't get injured, he could have easily surpassed the production that Drew Pyne was able to produce in relief of him. Whether or not we will witness the "high-ceiling" of his abilities remains to be seen, but barring a major transfer this offseason, I'd say he's most likely to win the starting role next season.


Drew Pyne - Thrust into the starting role, Pyne proved himself to be a serviceable option for the Irish this season. Unfortunately, I don't believe that Drew Pyne has the tools to be anything other than "serviceable", as it was evident that his physical abilities were limited. Lots of batted passes at the line of scrimmage, ill-timed turnovers, and questionable pocket awareness at times were enough for the majority of Irish fans to write off Drew Pyne. What can't be overlooked is his record as a starter. Pyne put up impressive numbers against decent opponents, and was also quite efficient when given some freedom. Unfortunately, Pyne won't have Michael Mayer to inflate some of his counting stats next season, so putting up a similar stat line may prove to be difficult for Pyne. I like Pyne to maintain a backup role this coming season, and at the very least, provide some experienced depth at the position.


Steve Angeli/Kenny Minchey - The awkward start from Buchner and Pyne had many fans screaming for Angeli from the rooftops - and although the freshman had yet to see any game action at that point, an impressive performance in the blue/gold game raised plenty of eyebrows. Angeli has a great frame, but most likely needed more time to mature into the program. With a season now under his belt, I can't say I would be surprised to see him shoot up the depth chart, especially with the inconsistencies that are present in both Buchner and Pyne. Angeli will undoubtedly see some playing time next season, the question is to what degree? On a similar note, Notre Dame scratched and clawed it's way back into quarterback recruiting for the 2023 class, and was able to flip Kenny Minchey from Pitt. Minchey looks to be primed to make an impact on the Irish roster, as he possess the skills to push the ball downfield with elite accuracy. Although I don't think he'll be nearly ready to take on a starting role as a true freshman, there is definitely the possibility for him to see playing time - and sooner rather than later. I think we can all agree that it's time for Tommy Rees to get more of a head start in the development of the younger quarterbacks.


Transfer Options - Gauging the fanbase, its almost an even split on whether or not pursuing a transfer at the position is necessary. There are a few names in the portal that are viable options, such as former Michigan Wolverine Cade McNamara, and Georgia Tech veteran Jeff Sims. Sims possess a dual threat option that was sorrowfully missed in the absence of Buchner this season - but with Buchner presumed to be healthy, why take the risk of bringing in another option? Both of these quarterbacks have big question marks next to their names, as McNamara is coming off a serious injury and Sims saw a major production dip this passed season. Right now, unless more intriguing options enter the portal, I wouldn't see Notre Dame pursuing a transfer. It is worth noting that this would more than likely lead to some transfers out of the program as well.


All in all, I don't expect any major shift from the initial depth chart to start the season. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the offseason, and if Tyler Buchner can avoid any more road blocks in his development. I'd like to see the other quarterbacks on the roster at least make it difficult for the staff to name a starter, and competition within the room should be encouraged in every facet. Those are my thoughts, what are yours?


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