Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD

2021 QB Tyler Buchner Working To Have Special 2019

January 16, 2019
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2021 quarterback Tyler Buchner‍ was supposed to take the nation by storm in 2018. The Bishop’s School star had blown up on the camp circuit as he earned offers from programs like Notre Dame, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Georgia, Michigan, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington State and Yale. 

However, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder saw his season tragically end before it ever really got started as he tore his ACL in the first game of the season.

“He only played four plays this season,” stated The Bishop’s School offensive coordinator Danny Mitchell. “We’re really excited about 2019.” 

Buchner showed up in South Bend to see Notre Dame beat Stanford in September and was already walking following surgery. Fast forward to January and the La Jolla (Calif.) native continues to be ahead of schedule.

“He’s doing great,” Mitchell said. “He’s progressed a lot faster than all of us thought he would. He’s running now, but he’s still probably three to four months from being fully healthy and ready to go. He’s out throwing and he has the same zip. He looks the same as what we were hoping for at the beginning of the fall.”

Irish Sports Daily
QB  Tyler Buchner

It’s not secret Buchner has an explosive arm, but Mitchell doesn’t think his arm is his greatest strength after seeing him play over the last two seasons.

“His greatest attribute, which I think is very underplayed because of how athletic he is, would be his mind,” explained Mitchell. “He’s not a kid. I’ve gotten to coach college football and professional football. He reminds me of those type of guys because he’s so far ahead of guys his age. 

“He’s 16 years old, but he understands the game like a 26-year-old. It makes it really easy as a coach because you have a guy with a mind like that on the field. Your whole role as a coach is not to screw him up. He’s going to make you look right most of the time.” 

While his mind separates him from his peers, Buchner’s athleticism also puts him at the top of his class. 

In fact, Buchner was a one-time commitment to Michigan to play lacrosse. 

“He’s extremely athletic,” Mitchell stated. “He’s the best athlete on the field. Tyler was our kick returner and played receiver as a freshman. We had the No. 1 passer all-time in San Diego his freshman year, Jeffrey Jackson, so Tyler rotated with him at quarterback. 

“Tyler’s athleticism is just phenomenal. When you see the ball come out of his hand, it’s special. I played quarterback and thrown three million more passes than him, but I will never be able to throw a football like he does. He’s a special talent.” 

Buchner’s athleticism and mind, unfortunately, led him to his freak injury this season, which was a non-contact injury and he wasn’t even playing quarterback. 

His father, Todd, was a punter in college, so naturally, Buchner handled punting duties for his high school and Mitchell saw everything you want in a prospect happen on the play that led to his injury.

“The first series of the game, we were punting,” recalled Mitchell. “They set up a return so we were in a spread punt and three guys rushed. He caught it, saw no one was there and took off running. It wasn’t called at all and he broke away. He was 40 yards downfield but as he cut, his knee buckled on him.

“Even how his year ended, it showed his mental capability. What we do offensively is similar to what Notre Dame does and everything is run through our quarterback. We have run controls on, so he has to be the leader for the offense. He has 100% control for us. He makes the decision if we are running into a good box or if we’re throwing it.” 

As mentioned, Buchner has attacked his rehab and it’s come naturally for him. There isn’t a prospect in the country who wants to be in his situation, but Buchner has used it for personal growth. 

Irish Sports Daily
QB Tyler Buchner

At Notre Dame’s Elite Skills Camp, Buchner at times showed a little frustration with his receivers, who weren’t as talented. Buchner has worked on showing a lack of negative emotion over the last few months.

“Tyler is a really competitive kid,” explained Mitchell. “When he went to the camp, he was still a freshman. I think you saw at times he was 15 at the time. That’s the thing about playing the quarterback position. Frustration can’t come out because the whole team is looking at him.

“That was the biggest blow anything of not having him out there as a player but as the leader because the kids do rely on him. His biggest growth from him not playing this year was that aspect. He was on the sideline and Tyler had to be a leader because kids still looked to him. He wasn’t on the field, but as a captain, he was helping the team find a better way and finding the positives. 

“Now you get to mix the mental attitude and maturity with the talent he has. We’re going to step out of the way and watch.” 

Some prospects become arrogant and self-centered when they achieve the offer list Buchner has, but Mitchell believes his quarterback has remained the same kid despite the attention. 

“I would say he’s the exact opposite of anything you’d expect,” stated Mitchell “The kid is so humble. He downplays it. I don’t think you’d ever know how good he is unless you researched him or came and watched him. 

“He’s not a big presence on Social Media. He’s never a kid to put himself first. He’ll never tell you how good he is. That’s what makes him so special. That’ why I’m so excited about the kid and why everyone else is excited about him. You realize it right away. He’s a normal 16-year-old kid with phenomenal talent.” 

Mitchell admits his mother may be the best example of being able to explain Buchner’s team-first attitude. 

“I was coaching our freshmen basketball team last year and my mom came to the game,” Mitchell explained. “Tyler decided to play freshmen basketball. My mom was saying he was the best teammate she has ever seen despite him being the best player on the floor. He was making the extra pass and encouraging everyone down the court.” 

While Buchner didn’t get to show the nation why he’s so highly touted in 2018, Mitchell knows 2019 could be a special year in the San Diego area.

“The biggest thing is just to see him play,” said Mitchell. “That’s something he’s excited about. He hasn’t really had a chance to be the guy.  This year Tyler was our leader, but he played four plays. I think once he gets to showcase his talent, the other things will fall into line. 

“He just wants to play the game. It’s fun.” 

 
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