Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly eliminated any drama about who will be under center for the Fighting Irish's Sept. 5 season opener at Florida State, when he announced Saturday that Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan will begin the season as the team's starting quarterback. Coan led the Badgers to a 10-4 record in 2019 with appearances in the Big Ten title game and Rose Bowl before missing the 2020 season with a broken foot.
"All three quarterbacks distinguished themselves in the spring and preseason camp," Kelly wrote in a tweet. "Clearly, each has the skills necessary to lead, but Jack proved to be more consistent and therefore, going into our opener, gives us the best chance for success."
At Notre Dame, Coan will be tasked with replacing Ian Book, who amassed a 30-5 record as Notre Dame's starting quarterback and led the Irish to a College Football Playoff appearance last season. With Book moving on, Coan arrived in time for spring practices and managed to fend off redshirt freshman Drew Pyne and true freshman Tyler Buchner to win the job.
Both Pyne and Buchner are former four-star prospects who figure to have opportunities in the future, but Coan gives Kelly a veteran presence at the position for a team ranked No. 7 in the preseason coaches poll. The Fighting Irish return just three offensive starters from last season's 10-2 team but are expecting to again be among the nation's elite after registering double-digit victories in three consecutive seasons.
Book proved himself to be relatively agile over his four seasons playing quarterback for Notre Dame, amassing 1,517 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Coan is less mobile, having registered -11 yards on the ground in 22 career appearances. But the Irish have a star in running back Kyren Williams and a defense that is projected to be solid.
Coan's throwing and game-managing abilities are well proven, even if his playmaking prowess is unspectacular. He completed 69.6% of his passing attempts for 2,727 yards, 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions as a junior for the Badgers in 2019.