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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Roster Review | Quarterback

February 18, 2024
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There’s been times in the last 20 years when Notre Dame had a better situation at quarterback in terms of a returning starter. There may not be another year where the overall situation has looked this good for the Irish.

One through four, Notre Dame is as talented as ever at the position. Things can change quickly and we still have a long way to go until they get to the season, but they enter into the spring with quarterback being one of the strongest positions on the roster in terms of depth of talent.

Total snaps returning

Steve Angeli played 135 snaps last season and most of those came in mop-up duty. He was pretty close to lights out in those scenarios, though, and then he carried most of that over to his start in the Sun Bowl against Oregon State.

Kenny Minchey redshirted, but was able to at least get onto the field for a handful of snaps in three games.

Notable returning production

Angeli completed 77.3% of his passes for 11.5 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns against one interception. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

It was from 44 total drop backs for him, so no one should get too carried away with those numbers quite yet. He also attempted only three passes in intermediate areas and was 1 for 3 on those throws.

Angeli did a great job of making every lay up, but missed some touchdown throws in the bowl game.

Additions

Riley Leonard was the top target for the Irish in the transfer portal and they once again landed an experienced signal-caller. The multi-year starter at Duke was injured at the end of the Notre Dame game and eventually had his season shortened because of it.

Leonard finished 29th in ESPN’s QBR this past season and was 28th in 2022. He’s viewed differently than Sam Hartman as a transfer with more room to improve at Notre Dame and his ability to run (1,164 yards minus sacks the last two seasons) is an important element he can bring to the offense.

The other addition is early enrollee CJ Carr. One of the top quarterback recruits in the country, Carr was able to practice with the team during bowl prep.

Spring competition

It’s a very similar situation to the quarterback competition last spring when Notre Dame also had four quarterbacks available. We’ll see if the approach by the staff is the same.

Last year it was primarily Hartman and Tyler Buchner getting all of the reps with the ones and twos while they competed for the starting job. It was close to an even split for them with Angeli and Minchey getting the leftovers.

One would think Leonard and Angeli will get the same treatment this year, but I suppose that depends on whether or not Minchey or Carr can cause them to rethink that.

How much does the system change with Mike Denbrock and what does that mean for the returning quarterbacks and the new guys? Leonard shouldn’t face the same kind of drastic adjustment that Hartman had to make coming to Notre Dame and he has a lot more experience than anyone else he’s competing against. That makes him the heavy favorite to win the starting job or to at least cement himself as the likely starter against Texas A&M to begin the 2024 season.

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