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Dayne Crist named Notre Dame’s starting quarterback

Aug 23, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Getty Images - Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

When Notre Dame takes the field to play South Florida on September 3, they’ll do it with Dayne Crist at the helm. After two weeks of solid competition that saw Crist and Tommy Rees separate themselves from sophomore Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson, head coach Brian Kelly tapped Crist as his starter, in a decision that came down to the narrowest of margins.

“We named a starting quarterback and that will be Dayne Crist,” Kelly announced a earlier this afternoon. “I expect Dayne to be the starter for 13 weeks. We have great confidence in his ability to lead us to a championship.”

Crist’s path to the starting quarterback job has been far more wayward than his rather forced ascension to the position last year, a role he inherited with little competition after Jimmy Clausen decided to leave early for the NFL. When Crist suffering a second straight season-ending major knee injury, a so-so debut season mixed with a 4-0 late-season run by Rees made the battle in preseason camp the primary storyline to watch for an Irish team looking to do big things this season.

If Notre Dame plans to make it back to the BCS, they’ll need to see a big leap forward from Crist in his senior season. It’s something Kelly already sees happening.

“He’s a much better football player, he’s a much better quarterback and quite frankly and honestly, he’s the kind of guy I want to coach,” Kelly said after making the decision. “He’s tougher mentally. He handles himself in a leadership position the way I want our quarterbacks to handle it.”

That the competition was so close wasn’t a referendum on Crist’s development process, but a sign that Rees also took great strides in his first full offseason with the program.

“Tommy also knows what he’s capable of doing,” Kelly said. “Tommy is a much better quarterback than the one he was last year.”

With Rees serving as a primary backup, Kelly kept his plans for Hendrix and Golson, two young players Kelly has continued to praise, close to the vest.

“All four quarterbacks are prepared to play and we’re prepared to play all four quarterbacks,” Kelly said.

Crist completed just over 59 percent of his passes last season for 2,033 yards with 15 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He was injured early in the season’s ninth game against Tulsa,  almost a year to date after a torn ACL ended his 2009 season.


  1. nudeman - Aug 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    I’d have been shocked if it wasn’t Crist. I’ve always liked the guy and think he could have a big year.
    Better arm than Clausen. Definitely better arm than Rees.

    Dayne os the guy. Wish the season started tomorrow.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Aug 23, 2011 at 9:40 PM

      Well, Well, Well … I would’ve been shocked too. I think we all know Rees went 4-0 largely because of the defense, he also threw the game away to Tulsa. Notre Dames only weakness I see is the rushing offense, Wood is skilled but largely unproven over a 13 game season, if he emerges … Riddick, Floyd, Eifert, TJ and many more weapons will be just fine.

  2. trbowman - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I’m shocked! Wow, you must be joking!

  3. bernhtp - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Congrats to Dayne. Great kid, great talent, and now a great opportunity to fulfill his abilities and dreams.

  4. NotreDan - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Solid, well-thought-out decision.

    I trust Kelly and his staff.

    Good work Dayne; and Tommy, you keep up the good work too. It’s going to take all we’ve got to get in the BCS.

    GO IRISH!!

  5. nudeman - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Just saw Kelly’s press conf.
    Apparently the reason this thing got drawn out as long as it did is because Crist was very tentative and sort of had a lousy spring practice.
    Sounds like he turned it all around in the summer.
    That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  6. smurphdoggy29 - Aug 23, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Congratulations Dayne, and all the QB’s. I just want to maintain my consistency here and refer back to my earlier position. That is production from snap one on September 3rd. Dayne has “it” whatever that is, and Coach Kelly knows this, and now I just would like to see Dayne, and the entire team produce at the level expected of them (not above it, just at it) from the first snap. Then continue on, and through, until that important late December or early January Bowl Game.

    It is not too much to ask of these young men to play to their ability from the beginning. I think they will, and I think we’re in for a special treat this year !!

    There is a magic in the sound of their name, HERE COME the IRISH of Notre Dame!!!

  7. bernhtp - Aug 23, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    I just saw Dayne’s interview on He was extremely mature and impressive. What a great kid and leader.

    I can’t wait for the season to start when Kyle Brindza puts the opening kickoff into Jesus’ open arms on the Hesburgh Library mural.

    • notredamegrad - Aug 24, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Just watched Dayne’s press conference, too – very impressive! He is so thoughtful, so mature, so gracious – a capable leader with a good head on his shoulders. He spoke generously of Tommy and his teammates and coaches and family, and humbly about himself.

      Congratulations to Dayne. Go Irish! Let’s get this started.

      Ten days and counting.

  8. notredave - Aug 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    As a Irish fan living in the Sooner state, I’m hoping to see a season like Jason White had after he had two surgery’s.

    Time to shine now Dayne.

    Go Irish!!!

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