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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Draft Diary | Ian Book Part I

January 15, 2021
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Notre Dame's all-time winningest quarterback, Ian Book, is off to prepare for NFL. Throughout the process leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, Book will log diary entries to ISD to document his experience over the next five months, as told to Matt Freeman:

What a ride.

My time at Notre Dame has come to an end, and I'm off to prepare for the realization of my dream of playing in the NFL.

I entered this season knowing it was my last year, and I'm mentally and physically ready for the next step. Looking back, as a high school senior, I took the risk of heading to the Midwest, and I didn't know too much about Notre Dame. I easily could have stayed on the West Coast, but I took a leap of faith and it paid off in ways I never imagined. 

I grew as a student-athlete at Notre Dame. Graduating from the Mendoza College of Business in 3.5 years was one of my most significant accomplishments, and I'm forever proud and grateful.

The memories don't end in the classroom as I'll always cherish the time with my teammates over the last five years. I'll never forget certain wins, including beating Clemson, then the No. 1 team in the country, and adding that win to the long list in the proud history of the program is something I will always carry with me. 

There were ups and downs. We didn't finish what we wanted in terms of winning a National Championship, but two trips to the playoffs in three years speaks volumes to the commitment of our team. I also grew as a man being the quarterback at Notre Dame. As the quarterback of this particular program, the target on your back is huge and I had to develop some tough skin. It has prepared me for the NFL, as I am well aware the quarterback position will always be highly (and sometimes overly) scrutinized.

The Notre Dame fanbase is like none other. There are faculty, alumni and students who follow the program passionately, but there are so many other fans, in all four corners of the country, with no traditional connection to the University, who simply love Notre Dame football. With that attention comes both praise and criticism and the need to be able to perform with both. It is this simple: more is required and demanded from the quarterback. I accept and embrace that. 

Toughness has been a staple of our program and I tried to set an example for the QB group and the offense. I know some believe I'm undersized. I've worked hard to become durable, and the one thing I'm going to do every time I step on the field is to be tough and grind it out. I intend to carry those traits with me to the NFL. 

In 2018, I broke my ribs in the first half of the Northwestern game. At halftime, my urine had blood in it, but I didn't tell anyone other than one teammate. I knew the team needed me. I wanted to be there for them and didn't want to let them down. I wouldn't recommend to younger players to follow that example, but it was important to me to finish the game. I did, and I'm glad I did. 

Rick Kimball/ISD
Ian Book goes 23 yards to the house with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter at Northwestern in 2018. 

This season, we demonstrated toughness all year as we battled a pandemic along with the regular roller coaster ride of a college football season.

I also felt like I grew as a quarterback. Coach (Tommy) Rees installed a new offense, and it was more pro-style. It was the perfect preparation for me as I wanted to make that leap to the NFL. We were under center more, with more pro-style concepts. I loved it, and I think it has prepared me well for the future.

Speaking of the future, my agent, Tim Younger, is great. He's a sports lawyer and takes his job very seriously. He is experienced with quarterbacks and I felt that was important. I want to prepare "for the NFL," as opposed to preparing "for the draft." He's been doing this a long time and I am confident his connections and my performance will lead to success.

Our transition plan begins in Jacksonville (Florida) for my pre-draft training. It's a busy schedule, but one I'm loving. I start my day around 8 a.m. with some therapy to get warmed up and then I throw for about two hours. I'll head back to therapy for some rehab thereafter, so I'm done with field and physical training around 3 p.m. each day. On Wednesdays, I have an aquatic pool session to improve shoulder rotation, which is pretty cool.

The evenings are equally busy. I've been preparing for interviews, reviewing film, and doing a lot of whiteboard work on coverages and protections. It is a full schedule, but we are watching the pace because we realize this is a marathon and not a sprint. 

I'll be heading down to Mobile (Alabama) in two weeks to compete in the Reese's Senior Bowl. I'm excited to see all my Notre Dame guys, and it will be cool to play together again. I'm looking forward to competing and showing NFL personnel I can throw it around with the best of the best, and I am ready to embrace the entire experience.

I plan to go in there and perform with confidence and display true leadership. I have been labeled as a winner, and I am proud of that, but winning comes from getting a group of guys together to unite with singular focus. In Mobile, I want to show that, in a short time, I can lead a group of extremely talented players. 

Competition is something I welcome. Everyone was invited for a reason, and I've never played with some of these guys. It's a big boy all-star game with a crucial workweek leading up to the game.

Well, that's it for now. I'll check in after the Senior Bowl!

- Ian Book 🤙🏽

Nathan Blumberg
Ian Book training in Jacksonville

 

 
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