In the days leading up to the Cotton Bowl, news leaked out that Brandon Wimbush was going to transfer. At the time both he and Notre Dame did their best to try and dance around the topic, but on Wednesday Wimbush made it official. He will be using a graduate transfer for his final year of eligibility.
Wimbush, ever the classy individual, took to Instagram to post a heartfelt message to the Notre Dame community.
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I can’t begin to explain the feeling. There are no words to fill the void. There’s something this place, & these people, do to you that no one can garner the words to explain unless you’re a part of it. I guess Lou did say it best – “Those who know Notre Dame, no explanation is necessary. Those who don’t, no explanation will suffice!” I THANK YOU! I THANK YOU! I THANK YOU for what you’ve given me these past 4 years. I was probably only able to recognize a tenth of the people who have moved my life in a direction that I could never imagine on my own! From my immediate family, to my football family, to the red army, to the supportive & the non supportive fans, to my Stanford Hall brothers, to all the professors that’ve dedicated so much, to the best business school, Mendoza, my Clancey St brothers, my Prep family, to the friends! To the friends!! To the long Time friend’s! to my Lady who’s loved me unconditionally! to Jack Swarbrick, to the alumni that’ve help mold me (you know who you are), to Fr. Jenkins – I owe you all. An Instagram post does this school no justice. Thank you Notre Dame – 7❤️✌🏾
With the new official now, the career of one of the more intriguing quarterbacks in Notre Dame history comes to an end. No signal caller in program history may have had higher highs and lower lows. His resume includes engineering a 49-14 beatdown of archrival USC a year ago and a win over Michigan this year to start the year. It also includes some forgettable performances against Ball State and Vanderbilt.
Unfortunately for Wimbush and Notre Dame, he was never able put it all together and be the weapon everyone envisioned he would be when he enrolled four years ago. His freakish athletic ability was never in doubt. It was his inconsistency in the passing game that forced Notre Dame’s hand this year in replacing him at quarterback with Ian Book four games into the season.
Wimbush handled his benching like a true pro though and Notre Dame fans should never forget that. He could have sulked. He could have transferred immediately like Kelly Bryant did at Clemson. He stayed though and he was a model teammate. He was rewarded with one final start against Florida State on Senior Night as luck would have it. Wimbush delivered one more blowout at the helm of the Irish offense.
Where is Brandon Wimbush Headed Next?
Wimbush did not make any announcement as to where he is headed but speculation has been running wild ever since news leaked on Christmas Eve of his intention to transfer. One of the most obvious destinations is Penn State. The Lions lose Trace McSorley and Wimbush was originally committed to Penn State before flipping to Notre Dame.
Another possibility is Georgia Tech. With Paul Johnson retiring and taking his option offense with him, the Yellow Jackets are short on non-option style quarterbacks on their roster currently.
Wherever Wimbush ends up though, Notre Dame fans should be rooting him. Well that is unless he ends up playing for someone on Notre Dame’s 2019 schedule. Then it would be OK to not do so for one week at least. Odds are he won’t end up playing for a 2019 opponent and odds are he will delight the fans of whoever he does play for with some highlight reel plays next fall.
Notre Dame’s Quarterback Depth for Next Year
With Wimbush officially transferring, Notre Dame still has at least three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for 2019. Ian Book returns for his senior campaign and will be the incumbent starter. Rising sophomore Phil Jurkovec arrived on campus amid much hype and will hoping be improved enough to seriously challenge Book in spring and fall camps. Incoming freshman Brendon Clark is enrolling early later this month.
Notre Dame also has Avery Davis on the roster currently. Davis converted into a hybrid running back/wide receiver this fall, but the experiment was not overly successful and a move back to quarterback could still be possible.
For Notre Dame to take the necessary steps needed on offense to be able to compete with the Clemsons and Alabamas, the Irish need both Book to improve greatly this off-season and Jurkovec to seriously challenge Book for the job. Notre Dame needs elite quarterback play in order to seriously challenge an elite defense like Clemson’s and it did not get it from Book in the Cotton. With just 10 career starts under his belt, there is still plenty of room for Book to progress towards that. If he doesn’t though, the Irish need Jurkovec to at least be able to challenge him in camp and be ready if called upon the way Book was this fall.
Impact on Notre Dame’s Roster Crunch
Notre Dame is currently well over the 85 scholarship limit assuming all 5th years seniors were to return. Wimbush leaving opens up one roster spot. Defensive lineman Micah Dew-Treadway announced on Wednesday that he too would be using a graduate transfer for 2019 as well. Notre Dame could still be over the 85 limit by 5 or 6 if Asa Turner or Isaiah Foskey decide to sign with the Irish in February though so expect there to be more graduate transfers and perhaps even some traditional transfers.
There are some obvious names on the roster but out of respect to those players, we won’t speculate on who may or may not transfer. We’ll let that one play out on it’s own. Just know that Notre Dame was in a similar situation last year and everything worked out pretty easily so the same will likely happen again this year.