Brian Kelly faces a huge challenge at quarterback position when he finally settles in at Notre Dame.
The injury-prone Dayne Crist is his only serious option at present but there is no guarantee that he will make it to the show. When he was recruited in 2008 there was talk of Crist challenging Clausen.
Even before he got injured, however, Crist never showed that kind of talent. It is asking a lot to expect him to come back after a serious ACL injury and be even in the same zip code as Clausen as a passer.
If not Crist ,who then? At the moment there are two incoming freshmen. Tommy Rees from Lake Forest, Illinois, is 6'3" and 192 pounds. He was dismissed by many of the major programs, receiving offers only from Stanford and Tennessee.
ESPN rated him as a good 'late developer' prospect, which is not exactly what Notre Dame wants to hear if there is a quarterback crisis.
The other freshman is Andrew Hendrix from Cincinnati. Again, the scouting report does not suggest a win early quarterback "Look for him to become a two-year starter with NFL potential" is how one scout rated him.
Heck, we may need a freshman who can jump right if Crist cannot make it, but even Clausen had a year to forget when he tried that.
Not surprising then that Kelly is talking about adding another quarterback in his recruiting efforts. No matter who that is Kelly will be seriously under pressure after Clausen's departure.
So far Kelly is taking it in stride, enjoying the goodwill at South Bend. Recently, he told the South Bend Tribune he was delighted how friendly everyone has been:
“(It shows) how positive they are about Notre Dame football . . .Everywhere I've gone has been upbeat and positive. Hey, at the end of the day, I know the honeymoon is over once they kick the football off. You've got to win football games, but it's been nice to see the very positive end of things.”
That will last about as long as snow in summer if the quarterback starts to mess up.
Kelly has a tough road to hoe.
Original Irish Jack-o-Lanterns were truly terrifying and made of turnips