Although Marcus Freeman lost offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, he was able to retain Sam Hartman and commit CJ Carr. Coach Freeman then promoted Gerad Parker to offensive coordinator, while adding Gino Guidugli as the Quarterbacks Coach. The Fighting Irish will be loaded with talent at quarterback the next five years and it could be enough for Notre Dame to win a national championship.
- Recruiting: #5 Player Overall & #1 Quarterback in the 2023 Transfer Rankings (all rankings per 247 Sports)
- Career Passing Stats: 944 for 1,597 (59%) for 12,967 passing yards, 110 passing touchdowns and 41 interceptions.
- Career Rushing Stats: he has 416 attempts for 856 yards (2.1 yards per carry) with 17 rushing touchdowns.
- Milestones: 107 Touchdown Passes (ACC record), 12,967 passing yards (2nd in ACC History)
No matter what the coaches proclaim, Sam Hartman will be the starter against Navy in week one. Fans must be excited about the potential of Tyler Buchner and his ability to challenge Hartman throughout the Spring and Summer, but this team needs the experience and poise from Sam Hartman in 2023.
I could dive into all the superlatives and statistics for Sam Hartman, and if you want to read more about him you can read my recent article “Notre Dame Football: Irish have Heisman candidate with Sam Hartman. He is an elite quarterback that the Fighting Irish have desperately needed since Brady Quinn in 2006.
In almost every monumental matchup for the program during the Brian Kelly era, Notre Dame was outmatched at the quarterback position.
- Recruiting: #71 Player Overall & #11 Quarterback in 2021 Class
- Career Passing Stats: 67 for 118 (57%) for 949 yards with 6 passing touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
- Career Rushing Stats: 82 attempts for 459 yards (5.6 yards per carry) with 7 rushing scores.
Unfortunately, Tyler Buchner was injured in week two last season. The sample size is still modest for the former #11 quarterback in the country. He demonstrated passion and grit in the Gator Bowl victory over South Carolina. Indeed, there is a lot of potential for Buchner and he already has elite rushing capabilities, but if the Irish Quarterback can be more consistent in the passing attack then he can become a great quarterback.
Fans should be ecstatic that Buchner did not enter the transfer portal for two reasons. First, he will keep Hartman from any complacency issues during camp and become a quality backup. Secondly, Tyler Buchner will get to learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the country as well as a new Quarterbacks Coach in Gino Guidugli.
- Recruiting: #365 Player Overall & #21 Quarterback in 2022 Class
Quarterback Steve Angeli has not registered a completion for the Fighting Irish to this point, but he was one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 class. He will not see action this fall but could push Tyler Buchner next season for the starting position under center.
- Recruiting: #167 Player Overall & #14 Quarterback in the 2023 Class
Kenny Minchey will not only be competing for playing time in 2024, but he will be competing alongside CJ Carr once he arrives on campus. The talented quarterback was a big commit last fall when Coach Freeman and the Irish desperately needed depth at the position. Minchey has a lot of talent and certainly will help make the quarterback room deeper than it has ever been for Notre Dame.
- Recruiting: #42 Player Overall & #5 Quarterback in 2024 Class
CJ Carr has the most excitement surrounding an incoming Irish quarterback since Jimmy Clausen. He currently is the #5 quarterback in the country, and he could finish as a 5-star recruit by signing day. The grandson of former Michigan Wolverines Head Coach Lloyd Carr is the face of the 2024 recruiting class.
The fact that Carr stayed committed after the loss of Tommy Rees shows how dedicated the young quarterback is to Coach Freeman and the Fighting Irish. He likely will not be on the gridiron for a few seasons, but fans should be excited for his potential in South Bend.
The Notre Dame Quarterback room went from having no depth to being one of the deepest positions on the roster. Marcus Freeman hit a home run with the commitment of transfer phenom Sam Hartman. With all due respect to Drew Pyne last fall, he was not going to lead the Irish to the playoffs, more less win a national championship.
Coach Freeman put a lot of pressure on his offensive coordinator decision by promoting Gerad Parker to play caller and bringing in Gino Guidugi as the quarterbacks coach. Parker was the play caller for West Virginia from 2020 to 2021, while Guidugi had been at Cincinnati since 2017 and was the offensive coordinator last year for the Bearcats.
I am fascinated to see how the offense will look under a different mindset beyond Tommy Rees. Parker will return a talented offensive line and tremendous group of running backs. But Notre Dame also has a Heisman-caliber quarterback alongside a young group of talented receivers that fans have not seen in quite some time.
The future is bright in South Bend and this offense should be exhilarating to watch in the upcoming years.