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Notre Dame Football

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 1 | QB Ian Book

August 3, 2019

We are looking at 10 players who hold the most intrigue on the roster as fall camp is just under a month away. They might not be the star of the team, but they could be a younger prospect oozing with potential or an older guy who has patiently waited for their time to come. 

These are 10 players who I will be paying close attention to as camp starts, but also the first few games of the season to see if they break into the rotation or what Brian Kelly’s plan of attack for them is in 2019. 

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 10 | OL Aaron Banks

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 9 | S Jalen Elliott

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 8 | LB Jordan Genmark Heath

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 7 | DL Jayson & Justin Ademilola

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 6 | WR Javon McKinley

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 5 | WR Michael Young Jr.

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 4 | LB Asmar Bilal

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 3 | CB Shaun Crawford

Most Intriguing Players of 2019 | No. 2 | WR Lawrence Keys III

Ian Book at the No. 1 spot isn’t a cop-out and it’s not who I originally planned to have at the top spot, but he more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. 

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly made the tough decision to move Book into the starting role last season after starting 3-0. The California native didn’t let Kelly down as he led the Irish to the College Football Playoff. 

Book completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 2,628 yards, 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last fall. 

You saw growing pains, but you also saw growth. You also saw a gritty kid who played through broken ribs and a kidney injury. Book never complained and made plays he wasn’t supposed to make against USC considering the circumstances. He’ll enter this season as the unquestioned starter and while there will be healthy competition, Book won’t feel the added pressure of looking over his shoulder as many quarterbacks under Kelly. 

Now, when was the last time Notre Dame had a quarterback who had natural leadership qualities and elite production? 

I believe you will have to go back to Brady Quinn. 

That’s what Ian Book brings to the table for Notre Dame as Kelly stated on Friday afternoon. 

“What we've seen is a leader and we've put him in a leadership position,” said Kelly. “He's just doing such a great job leading. His presence is one where, when he asks some people to do things, they're doing it. The respect that he has is different than last year.

“He walks around the building a little different, great confidence in him. He knows the technical things he needs to work on. I think Tommy Rees has done a great job laying those things out. He's worked on them. I think we'll continue to work on them. What I see is just a young man who's really confident in himself and holding others accountable.”

Book’s confidence should be high as taking Notre Dame to the playoffs was a significant accomplishment, but he also got a confidence boost this summer as he was able to work the Manning Passing Academy as a counselor, which is an accomplishment in itself.

It was an opportunity for Book to not only work the camp but compete against the best quarterbacks in the country as he competed with KJ Costello, Bryce Perkins, Jake Bentley, JT Daniels, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence to name a few. (Tua Tagovailoa missed the camp due to injury) 

Can Book outplay those quarterbacks? I don’t see a name other than Trevor Lawrence that absolutely stands out and he’ll get his shot against four of them this fall. 

Book has a playoff appearance on his resumè, but what’s the ceiling for Notre Dame if he continues on his upward trajectory? 

Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen and company never had a defense to work with during their tenure at Notre Dame. Add a quality defense to Book’s upward trajectory and I believe that’s what you call intriguing. 

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