Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 10 Drew Pyne, sophomore quarterback, likely No. 2

Drew Pyne 2021
Notre Dame Athletics
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Listed measurements: 5-foot-11 ½, 194 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Pyne has four seasons of eligibility remaining and he would even without the universal pandemic eligibility waiver since he appeared in only four games in 2020.
Depth Chart: Pyne will begin the preseason in competition with Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan to start at Florida State, but Coan is the overwhelming favorite to win that competition, if not solely because of talent then also because of the logistics to hauling in a graduate transfer.
Recruiting: An Under Armour All-American and consensus four-star prospect, Pyne’s offer sheet may be a better indicator of his talent than even those accolades, an indicator that may help explain how he is challenging the seemingly sure-thing of a graduate transfer becoming a starter. As the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2020 and No. 118 overall recruit, per rivals.com, Pyne chose Notre Dame over Alabama, LSU and Michigan.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Of the many areas of college sports that will find unique ways to incorporate money moving forward, one that will not need to is the Manning Passing Academy. A chance to work with the first family of quarterbacks is worth passing up other income streams for any college quarterback, including Pyne this summer.

CAREER TO DATE
Pyne moved up the Irish depth chart last year as now-junior Brendon Clark’s past-injured knee became “cranky,” to use head coach Brian Kelly’s technical description. Notre Dame still limited Pyne to blowouts in the regular season, but those moments would have been Clark’s if healthy.

Pyne saw a bit more intense environment when Ian Book was briefly knocked out of the College Football Playoff semifinal. Pyne needed to take one snap and completed a seven-yard pass on the play.

2020: 4 games; 2-of-3 passing for 12 yards, adding one rush for four yards.

In the Blue-Gold Game to end this past spring, Pyne matched Coan in general inefficiency, part of why the starting competition continues, if at least nominally, into this August.

Pyne: 11-of-23 for 146 yards with one interception.
Coan: 18-of-32 for 197 yards with one interception.

QUOTES
When Kelly and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees brought in Coan, they did not upset Pyne. He is very much used to more highly-touted quarterbacks drawing attention in any conversation about his Irish career.

“I committed here in my sophomore year, and I’ve been committed here (for) what feels like a long time,” Pyne said in early April. “I committed when Phil (Jurkovec) was here, Ian (Book) was here, Brendon (Clark) was here. I always knew at Notre Dame, especially at a place like this, you have to know that you’re going to come in and compete with the best quarterbacks in the country. …

“Competition and that stuff brings out the best in me. That’s why you come to Notre Dame, you compete against the best guys in the country, that’s how you get better.”

PYNE vs. COAN
Kelly insisted throughout the spring this would be a genuine competition.

“What do we want from Drew Pyne? We want Drew to be the starter,” Kelly said to start practices. “We’re not handing this job to Jack Coan. Drew’s been in the program, so we want him in the spring to be competing for the starting position, and he’ll have an opportunity to do that.”

That tenor never changed, no matter how much logic and speculation suggested it would.

RELATED READING: Drew Pyne studied to turn his second first spring practices into a real QB competition

2021 OUTLOOK
Coan will start in Tallahassee, but Pyne presents a viable option should Coan struggle at any point this season. Presenting failure as the necessity to spur a quarterback controversy is not the vibe anyone is looking for heading into a season, but that may be what it takes for Pyne to usurp Coan this season.

That is not a knock on Pyne. It is the obvious reality of the Irish seeking out a graduate transfer even before the NCAA approved the one-time transfer rule this spring. They wanted someone proven to raise the floor on the 2021 season, and Coan represents that.

But even with those odds stacked against Pyne, he will once again be one play away from taking over at all times, and that duty is needed more years than not.

DOWN THE ROAD
The odds will be stacked against Pyne again in 2022, with broad expectations of current freshman Tyler Buchner taking over after Coan. Buchner is the more heralded recruit, but he also hasn’t played since 2019 and by no means was Pyne a meager prospect, as outlined above.

They will both have their chance in the spring of 2022, and that should be an enjoyable quarterback competition, unlike the current nominal one.

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 91 Joshua Bryan, incoming freshman kicker
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, freshman receiver, four-star prospect out of Georgia
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, junior offensive tackle, possible backup center
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, early-enrolled offensive tackle, former Auburn commit
No. 70 Hunter Spears, junior offensive guard, former defensive tackle
No. 68 Michael Carmody, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 62 Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, senior defensive tackle
No. 56 John Dirksen, senior reserve offensive lineman
No. 56 Howard Cross, junior defensive tackle
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, the best Irish offensive lineman
No. 55 Kahanu Kia, freshman linebacker, Hawaiian, LDS member
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, junior defensive tackle
No. 54 Blake Fisher, early-enrolled freshman left tackle, starter?
No. 52 Zeke Correll, junior, starting center
No. 52 Bo Bauer, senior linebacker, #BeADog
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 47 Jason Onye, incoming and raw freshman defensive end
No. 44 Devin Aupiu, early-enrolled freshman defensive end
No. 44 Alex Peitsch and No. 65 Michael Vinson, Irish long snappers, both needed
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, fifth-year defensive tackle, eventual record-holder in games played
No. 40 Drew White, fifth-year linebacker, three-year starter
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, fifth-year kicker, using the pandemic exception
No. 35 Marist Liufau, junior Hawaiian linebacker
No. 34 Osita Ekwonu, junior defensive end
No. 33 Shayne Simon, senior linebacker
No. 32 Prince Kollie, freshman linebacker, Butkus Award winner
No. 29 Matt Salerno, senior punt returner, walk-on
No. 29 Khari Gee, freshman safety, former LSU commit
No. 28 TaRiq Bracy, senior cornerback, possible nickel back
No. 27 JD Bertrand, junior linebacker
No. 26 Clarence Lewis, sophomore cornerback, second-year starter
No. 25 Philip Riley, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 25 Chris Tyree, speedy sophomore running back
No. 24 Jack Kiser, junior linebacker, onetime pandemic hero
No. 24 Audric Estime, freshman running back, former Michigan State commit, four-star
No. 23 Litchfield Ajavon, junior safety
No. 23 Kyren Williams, junior running back
No. 22 Logan Diggs, incoming freshman running back
No. 21 Lorenzo Styles, early-enrolled freshman receiver
No. 21 Caleb Offord, sophomore cornerback
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, senior running back, coming off an offseason with a smirch
No. 20 Justin Walters, early-enrolled freshman safety and likely early special teams contributor
No. 20 JoJo Johnson, freshman cornerback, former Cincinnati commit
No. 19 Jay Bramblett, junior punter
No. 19 Justin Ademilola, senior defensive end
No. 18 Joe Wilkins Jr., senior receiver, team favorite
No. 18 Nana Osafo-Mensah, junior defensive end, coming back from a knee injury
No. 18 Chance Tucker, freshman cornerback
No. 17 Jack Coan, graduate quarterback, Wisconsin transfer
No. 17 Jordan Botelho, sophomore defensive end, full-speed at all times
No. 16 Deion Colzie, incoming freshman receiver with both speed and leaping height
No. 16 KJ Wallace, junior safety, possible starting nickel back
No. 15 Ryan Barnes, early-enrolled freshman cornerback
No. 14 Kyle Hamilton, junior safety, preseason All-American, top 2022 draft prospect
No. 13 Paul Moala, senior linebacker coming off an Achilles injury
No. 13 Lawrence Keys, senior receiver
No. 12 Tyler Buchner, early-enrolled freshman quarterback, former four-star recruit
No. 12 DJ Brown, senior safety mired in a starting competition
No. 11 Ron Powlus III, early-enrolled freshman quarterback
No. 11 Ramon Henderson, sophomore cornerback with sprinter’s speed