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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame QB CJ Carr Focused on Details & Leadership Heading into First Spring

February 6, 2024

CJ Carr got a much-discussed headstart on his collegiate career in December when he arrived at Notre Dame to go through bowl prep for the Fighting Irish. 

The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder couldn’t play in the game, but the opportunity to go through practices provided a comprehensive look at what the spring would be like as an early enrollee. 

“It was a different experience,” stated Carr. “Just the way speed changes from high school to college. I learned a lot in those few weeks. Practicing with the team was a big advantage for me. I’m excited to head into spring with the right foot forward.”

It’s not a hot take to say Carr’s head was spinning being thrown into a team that had practiced for the last 12 months together, but it was more about the cumulative effect of learning the small details over the two-week period. 

Now, Carr can take a step forward into a leadership role within his class to help his classmates go through the adjustment to college and life in The Gug. 

“Not even football-wise, but understanding what to do in the locker room,” explained Carr. “Where you put your stuff. That was a big advantage in itself. Being able to kind of show the freshmen — not that I know everything, but show them the basics of where to go, where to be. That was a huge advantage.”

The Michigan native also was able to immerse himself into the quarterback. Carr was able to start forming bonds with Steve Angeli and Kenny Minchey, but also learn about their routines and how to attack each day. 

“We’re in a great quarterback room,” Carr said. “We have four guys in there who love to play football. They’re all great guys. We played basketball a few times. The chemistry is great in there. I’m at an advantage, just because I get to learn from all three of them. There’s so much knowledge in all of those QBs ahead of me. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from them.”

In addition to showing his classmates the ropes, Carr is also starting to take advantage of Notre Dame’s facilities with his peers. There is no excuse not to get extra work in and Carr has already organized a few throwing sessions.

“I was talking about this with Jack Larsen,” stated Carr. “This indoor facility is such a blessing. We’re coming from high school where it’s -3 out, you can’t train. The day’s over. We get to come in here and throw the ball around a little bit, stretch, do whatever. It’s a blessing that we have these resources around.”

With the recruiting process behind him, Carr can now focus on developing his game and making his teammates better over the next few years. That said, Carr was a critical piece to the puzzle as he made sure to do his part on the recruiting trail despite being on his third offensive coordinator and second quarterback coach. 

“Cam and I have talked multiple times,” Carr explained. “We had both our position coaches leave. We’ve been through ups and downs already and we haven’t really been on campus yet. I think the biggest thing for us was the players in the room with us. We’ve spent two years with the guys in this room, helping recruit and make everyone feel comfortable. It was more about the relationships we’ve built with the players than anything else. 

“Trusting Coach (Marcus) Freeman to put the right guys in the right positions coaching-wise and on the field. It was a combination of both of those.” 

And as for those national recruiting rankings, Carr finished as the No. 6 quarterback and the No. 68 overall player on the 247 composite rankings. 

Yet, it doesn’t matter to Carr as he’s not fueled by how high or low he finished. The focus is on Notre Dame and preparing for his first spring ball. 

“I haven’t looked at rankings for two years now,” said Carr. “As much as I respect the guys who do it, I don’t know how well they can evaluate anyone. That’s a thing that I don’t even think it would push me at all because I don’t really care what any of them have to say anyways.”

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