Drew Brees is officially getting acclimated with being a part of the Notre Dame community now that he is the official color commentator for Notre Dame Football on NBC. Earlier this month, he was interviewed as part of Notre Dame Day and was asked about the NFL future of Ian Book – the winningest quarterback in Notre Dame Football history. Brees who like Book faced doubts about his size said that he sees Book having a bright NFL future.
“I’m sure he’s got high expectations for the NFL,” Brees said of Book. “I think his skill set sure carries over. He’s an athletic guy who can run and make plays with his legs. Obviously, he throws the ball very well so I think he’s got a bright future.”
Brees said that he had a chance to watch a bit of Notre Dame last fall during his final season in the NFL as a member of the New Orleans Saints. “I actually had the chance to watch Notre Dame play quite a bit last year. Obviously that big win versus Clemson, I tuned in for the fourth quarter and the two overtimes. To watch the team come up with some really big wins and obviously to put themselves in a position to really make a run at it towards the end, obviously, Ian Book was a huge part of that and has been his whole career.”
Brees made specific mention to the intangibles that allowed Book to go from being a lightly recruited 3-star prospect to wrestling away the starting job from a former top 50 overall prospect, Brandon Wimbush, and never looking back.
“I think the first thing you see is just his heart, toughness, and competitive drive. You said it – winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history – and there’s a nice list of QBs that have come through Notre Dame so that’s saying a lot.”
Book earned the distinction of the winningest quarterback in program history on Senior Day completely one of the more improbable stories in recent program history that started when he took over for Wimbush despite an unblemished record in 2018 and guiding the Fighting Irish to the first of two playoff berths in the last three years.
“You can tell he endeared himself to his teammates,” Brees added of Book. “ I think that’s the number one trait that a quarterback can have – is that he’s.bringing out the best in his teammates and that his teammates will run through a wall for him. Certainly, you got that impression when you would watch the way the team would rally around him.”
It’s hard to argue with Brees there. Even Book’s biggest detractors – and there were plenty of them – could make an argument that Book didn’t own the Notre Dame locker room over the last three years. Even when he took over for Wimbus, a very popular player in his own right, Book’s leadership was never questioned. Having Wimbush be one of the best teammates anyone could have ever asked for in that situation certainly helped, but it still took Book getting the buy-in from the locker room for that experiment to turn into the success that it became.
Where Book lands in the draft still remains to be seen, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Ian Book is talked about the same way Chase Daniel is in ten years. Daniels was an undersized college quarterback as well, but he’s had a long and successful career primarily as a backup and spot starter for over a decade. Book is likely aiming much higher than that, but there are a lot of quarterbacks who have come and gone that would trade anything for a career like Daniel has had.