Notre Dame’s quarterback recruiting for the class of 2023 appears to be over with perhaps the best possible outcome the Irish could have hoped for after where they stood at the position three months ago. After a failed all-in attempt for Dante Moore left the Irish standing at the alter, the staff managed to pry away a better quarterback than anyone thought they’d be able to land after completely resetting their board over the summer.
Much like two years ago with Will Shipley at running back, Notre Dame put all their eggs in one basket with Moore and let it be well known it was Moore or bust. It was part of Notre Dame’s pitch to Moore, just like it was part of Notre Dame’s pitch to Shipley in the 2021 cycle. Unfortunately, the result was the same for the Irish. They were spurned by their top choice and were left scrambling. The outcome also appears to be identical, with Notre Dame managing to land both Logan Diggs and Audric Estime in 2021 and now securing a commitment from Kenny Minchey at quarterback earlier today.
The parallels between the pursuits of both Shipley and Moore are impossible to ignore. However, if the ultimate outcome of their failed pursuit of Moore mirrors the result of their swing-and-miss on Shipley, the quarterback position could be in much better shape in the future. While Shipley has proven to be a fine back for Clemson the last two years, Notre Dame has been more than happy with what they have gotten out of Diggs and Estime. The duo has combined for 1,480 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
With Minchey, Notre Dame has a bonafide, future starting quarterback coming into this class – not just a flier or developmental prospect they’re hoping to develop. Minchey is an elite talent with elite accuracy and touch.
The work the staff did to pivot from Moore after it was clear he was headed to Oregon is remarkable, but at the same time, it was only needed because they decided to be all-in in the first place. Very early in this cycle, Notre Dame was in a great position with at least four quarterbacks now top-10 QBs in the On3 composite rankings – Jackson Arnold, Avery Johnson, Christopher Vizzina, and Moore.
Notre Dame slow-played Arnold, who committed to Oklahoma early. They did the same with Johnson, who ended up committing to Kansas State, but quite a bit later than Arnold. Vizzina was set to visit Notre Dame earlier this year when reports surfaced that the visit was off and Notre Dame was all-in on Moore. And for a while, it looked like it would pay off. By all accounts, Notre Dame was the odds-on favorite for Moore until something changed in the spring, and all of a sudden, things started looking not so great with Notre Dame and Moore.
After losing out on Moore, Notre Dame tried to kick the tires on some of the names above, but it’s hard to go back to recruits who knew they weren’t the priority like Moore was. That’s hard to overcome, which is partly why there was a lot of concern about how Notre Dame would land a solid quarterback this year.
To the staff’s credit, their pursuit of Minchey was mainly kept under wraps, with nary a report of Minchey’s series interest in Notre Dame until just last week, right before he announced his commitment from Pitt. The only public connection between Minchey and Notre Dame was the news of the offer from Notre Dame over the summer. Still, there were no reports of a lot of serious reciprocal interest from Minchey in Notre Dame.
Pitt not being as good overall or as dynamic offensively as they were a year ago likely didn’t hurt Notre Dame’s chances here – especially when you consider that Pitt head coach Pat Nrduzzi has openly complained that former offensive coordinator Mark Whipple threw the ball too much. Nevermind that Pitt was a lot better last year when they “threw the ball too much,” but details, details.
Regardless of what went into the Notre Dame staff’s pitch to Minchey that won him over, this is a big-time pick-up for Notre Dame. Had Minchey not gotten hurt this season, he likely would have been a high riser in the rankings. As is, he just jumped up in the On3 rankings earlier this week, despite missing time this fall. Notre Dame also NEEDED a quarterback in this class and needed one that wasn’t just a filler. They didn’t have someone who could sling it. Kenny Minchey can sling it.
Quarterback recruiting is always a bit of a crapshoot, so we won’t know for a few years if Minchey will be the next great Notre Dame quarterback the program has been waiting for. Still, if we can look back in a few years and see that this played out just like it did with Diggs/Estime vs. Shipley, no one will care how the Irish added Minchey to this class.