2018 Notre Dame Football Recruit Profile: Phil Jurkovec
The Notre Dame football program got signed commitments from 21 players from 13 different states last month during the inaugural “early signing period.”
News-Sentinel.com sports reporter Tom Davis has been writing on the Fighting Irish for nearly two decades and is taking a daily look at each recruit leading up to the traditional National Signing Day (Feb. 7).
Jurkovec is a big, athletic and highly-accomplished quarterback from western Pennsylvania, that veteran Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly simply gushes about.
The 6-foot-5 senior at Pine-Richland High School excels in both football and basketball, and closed his prep football career by throwing for over 8,000 yards (11,000 of total offense) and 71 scores. And that included having missed half of his sophomore season with a thumb injury.
As a senior, he passed for nearly 4,000 yards and ran for over 1,200. He accounted for 63 touchdowns and completed 72.8 percent of his throws.
Pine-Richland went unbeaten in 16 games en route to the 2017 PIAA Class 6A state championship.
He was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month and struggled in limited time.
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Jurkovec is similar in body type and skills to former Notre Dame great DeShone Kizer. He is big physically (though he needs to add weight and strength), but he can keep plays alive with his feet.
He has a strong arm and has shown accuracy at the high school level.
He is athletic and is a very accomplished basketball player, as well as football standout, which Kelly said translates to the football field.
He is a strong student, as well as good athlete and leadership within the Irish program should be a trait of his over the next (possible) five years.
Jurkovec dropped in the final rankings following a poor showing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but prior to that, he was regarded as the fourth-best dual-threat quarterback nationally by Rivals, while ESPN had him rated as the eighth best pocket passer.
Overall, 247Sports rated Jurkovec as the nation’s 66th best player, while Rivals had him listed as the 55th best player.
It will behoove Jurkovec if he embraces competition, because he will likely see it every year he is in South Bend. Only once in Kelly’s tenure has he not had a quarterback controversy at some point in the year, and that was mostly due to former Irish quarterback Everett Golson being deemed academically ineligible and Kelly being forced to stick with current Notre Dame quarterback coach Tommy Rees.
Next season should be no different from the very opening of training camp.
Brandon Wimbush had the starting job all season in 2017, but in the Citrus Bowl win, Kelly replaced him with Ian Book and the redshirt freshman played well.
Jurkovec will start the race behind those guys, but if he performs well in training camp, don’t think for a moment that he couldn’t get a look next season.
Anything is possible with Kelly and his quarterbacks.
In addition to Wimbush and Book, Avery Davis will be a redshirt freshman next year, as well. All three of those players are dual-threat quarterbacks that can throw and run.
BRIAN KELLY SAYS
“I want him to challenge (for the starting job),” Kelly said on National Signing Day of Jurkovec. “I want Brandon to feel competition and I’m sure Brandon wants to be challenged. Any great competitor wants that feeling that somebody is pushing him every day, and not that Ian doesn’t, but let’s bring in another really good quarterback, a great quarterback.”
“I think he’s the best quarterback in the country. He’s somebody that I could put up against any quarterback that I’ve ever seen.”
For more on college football, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010 and on Facebook at Thomas Davis.