Brandon Wimbush was replaced as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback by Ian Book early on in the 2018 season, and it is no surprise that he has decided to transfer to another program heading into next year.
On Tuesday, Wimbush announced on Instagram that he is joining UCF as a graduate transfer. He thanked Notre Dame and said he is looking forward to a fresh start with another one of the nation’s top programs.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly spoke a lot about using two quarterbacks early in the season, but ultimately it was Book who provided the better spark for the Irish offense and led them to a College Football Playoff berth. Wimbush clearly took the benching hard at first, though he seemed to handle it better as the season progressed.
It’s unclear if McKenzie Milton will be cleared for the start of the season after he suffered a gruesome leg injury, so Wimbush could end up competing with sophomore Darriel Mack Jr. for the starting job at UCF.
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush appeared to take his benching pretty hard on Saturday.
Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said during the week that the team would play two quarterbacks against Wake Forest. Though Notre Dame was 3-0 with Wimbush getting the snaps at QB, they had only scored 24, 24, and 22 points in their games. Kelly felt it was time to give Ian Book a shot, and Book accounted for five touchdowns while the Irish put up 56 points.
Notre Dame reporter Tyler James shared on Twitter that Wimbush seemed pretty lonely on the sidelines during the game, standing by himself and not really interacting with anyone.
Wimbush did not play at all in the game after being the starter the previous three games. He shouldn’t get too down though, considering Kelly says he plans to use both quarterbacks going forward.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly made the somewhat surprising decision to bench Brandon Wimbush despite a 3-0 start, but he hinted on Saturday that the quarterback’s Fighting Irish career isn’t over.
Junior quarterback Ian Book started against Wake Forest on Saturday and impressed. He scored five total touchdowns — three rushing, two passing — and threw for 325 yards.
With numbers like that, it stands to reason that Book will keep the job going forward, but Kelly said after the game that he intends to work Wimbush in again as well.
Kelly felt that, despite the team’s success, the offense was putting too much pressure on the defense. It’s something of an indictment of Wimbush, but Kelly isn’t closing the door on him. Still, much like another school with two established quarterbacks, one will probably have an edge over the other, and Book looks more likely to get the bulk of the snaps.
There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the quarterback competition at Notre Dame as the team’s offense continues to struggle, but head coach Brian Kelly maintains that there is no reason to choose between senior Brandon Wimbush and junior Ian Book.
When asked on Thursday who his starting quarterback will be against Wake Forest this weekend, Kelly would not say. He did, however, say with certainty that both will get on the field.
“They’re both going to play,” Kelly said, via LaMond Pope of the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve said that all year. We need them both to win. And they’re both ready.”
Wimbush has started all three games this season, but Kelly is not willing to commit to that trend continuing on Saturday. When pressed to name a starter, he again reiterated that both quarterbacks are going to play.
Notre Dame has used Book mostly in red zone packages this season, and he has played in all three games. He has completed all three of his pass attempts for 13 yards and one touchdown, which was a two-yard pass in last week’s tough win over Vanderbilt.
“We recruited him to Notre Dame to win championships, just as we did with Brandon. That’s why we put him in the game against Vanderbilt — to win,” Kelly said of Book. “That’s why we put him in each and every week.”
Wimbush started all but one game last season for the Irish, but he was replaced in the Citrus Bowl when he was struggling. While Book led Notre Dame to a win over LSU in that game, Wimbush still won the starting job again during the summer. The Irish are averaging just 365.3 total yards of offense per game this season, which ranks 99th in the nation.
The college football season is upon us, which should have fans pumped across the country. Though it will take a while to get a sense for the best 25 teams in the country, we do have our preseason top 25 entering the first full slate of games. Those teams will be relying on some key players all season. Here is a look at the most important player for each of the preseason’s top 25 teams.
1) Alabama — Tua Tagovailoa, QB
After taking over the second half of the national championship game, Tagovailoa showed what he can do. He is mobile, fearless, and has a big arm. He can give Alabama the kind of big-play ability at quarterback they haven’t seen for a while — possibly ever. He has no shortage of talent around him, much of it NFL-level, and he has already demonstrated skill and poise in the most pressure-filled situation. Expect him to have a solid year at minimum.