Coming into the 2016 season, Notre Dame had high hopes for their football program after posting a 10-3 record in 2015. A soft defense and an inability to finish close football games resulted in the Irish posting their worst record since 2007. Notre Dame will enter the 2017 season losing their star quarterback DeShone Kizer to the NFL, while backup quarterback Malik Zaire has been granted his transfer request. So who is the next man up for the Fighting Irish?
Brandon Wimbush is expected to be the man who heads the quarterback position for the Irish come 2017, but who is Brandon Wimbush? Wimbush enters 2017 after spending 2015 as a true freshman and 2016 as a redshirt sophomore. He stands at 6’1″ weighing 225 pounds, possessing incredible athleticism and a strong-arm. Coming out of High School, Wimbush was rated the No. 45 player in the nation and the No. 4 dual threat quarterback on the ESPN 300 list.
While Wimbush hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself, he has made the most of his opportunities. Wimbush appeared in two games, one against UMass and the other against Pittsburgh during his freshman season. He totaled 109 yards against UMass, completing three of his five passes for 17 yards and gaining 92 yards on the ground, 58 of those yards coming on a touchdown run.
So what can Wimbush offer the Irish come 2017? He certainly possesses the ability to escape the pocket and take off downfield much like Kizer was able to do. With top offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey returning, Wimbush should have enough time in the pocket to throw downfield to stud wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who is coming off a 59 catch season, totaling 969 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Irish will certainly be a team to turn our attention to come 2017. With a new quarterback under center, it will be interesting to see how the offense produces behind Wimbush. However, if the defense does not improve from their lackluster showing from 2016, the Irish will be right back to their 2016 form.