All signs point to this being quite the week for Notre Dame’s quarterbacks. First of all, Irish head coach Marcus Freeman said Monday that sophomore Tyler Buchner likely will start in Friday’s Gator Bowl against No. 19 South Carolina (3:30 ET; ESPN). Buchner missed the last 10 games of Notre Dame’s 8-4 regular season with a shoulder sprain that required surgery.
“To not play football for so many weeks, every day he gets better and better in his decision-making and really just getting back there and having live reps,” Freeman said in Jacksonville. “Obviously, he’s not getting hit. He’s in the red (jersey). All of our quarterbacks wear red, but to have him out there getting live reps has been really good.”
Freshman Steve Angeli has worked with the starting offense in bowl preparations but will be with the backups this week. Sophomore Ron Powlus III remains the third quarterback on the roster, a depleted depth chart since junior Drew Pyne announced his transfer, eventually choosing Arizona State as his destination.
But this may be a one-game cameo for Buchner in his injury return. Reports last week that Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman would jump into the transfer portal have become reality, with the ACC star entering the database on Tuesday.
All indications continue to point toward Hartman joining Notre Dame for a season, a fit that can be dissected once it too has become reality. For now, walking through both the tea leaves and the broader process of elimination makes it clear that Hartman really may be heading to South Bend.
A week ago, this space walked through the remaining teams looking for top-line transfer quarterbacks. At that point, Auburn, TCU, Oklahoma State, Louisville and Notre Dame all seemed to still need a quarterback, while Texas’ Hudson Card, Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong and Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders headlined their options.
Card has announced a transfer to Purdue, while those other names have remained uncommitted. Card finding a somewhat unexpected home may speak to the lack of urgency from some of those listed schools. Either they are also chasing Hartman, they think Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall may be the answer, or they may bank on a January entry into the transfer portal.
Regardless, the available names continue to dwindle.
Before anyone asks, there is little chatter on exactly how fast Hartman will make his decision. He may wait until after the Gator Bowl, or this process could be wrapped up by kickoff. He cannot take an official visit to South Bend until Jan. 4, though an official visit may not be needed for someone planning on spending one season at a new school, not to mention someone likely about to receive a six-figure payday.
ON Jayson Ademilola
The fifth-year defensive tackle was battling a few injuries at the end of the season, a year after a shoulder injury plagued him through the entire season. Ademilola has not officially opted out of this bowl game, but he was reportedly not practicing Monday.
That was in an attempt to still find full health, per Freeman, who would not rule out Ademilola from playing Friday.
“Nobody’s out,” Freeman said. “We have a couple of guys injured that are still going to try to go. We’ll see how this week goes, but no new injuries.”
A better idea will be available later in the week, but if Ademilola does not play, that should not be too much of a shock. He should be a mid-round draft pick, at worst, in the spring. If he can get to full health and then test well, he could improve that.
FREEMAN ON VIRGINIA TECH WR TRANSFER Kaleb Smith
Skipping past the references made to the nominal confusion between the elder transfer and the freshly-signed receiver by the same name, Freeman highlighted Smith’s addition to Notre Dame’s young receiver room.
“Smith, obviously from Virginia Tech, is going to be a huge addition to our wide receivers room,” Freeman said. He’s a guy that comes with game experience but he also brings the length and the size that will be an addition to the room and a sense of maturity.”
Checking into my hotel in Jacksonville and the front desk worker made sure to note, "The bar is open until midnight, but we'll keep it going till 1 a.m. when the fans roll in this week."
Safe to say the city is preparing for a wave of South Carolina and Notre Dame fans.
— Ben Portnoy (@bportnoy15) December 26, 2022
INSIDE THE IRISH
— Virginia Tech WR transfer Kaleb Smith gives Notre Dame needed size and experience, if also nominal confusion
— Things We Learned: Remove recency bias and Notre Dame’s recruiting has clearly reached new heights
— A dozen Notre Dame offensive signees in Marcus Freeman’s and Tommy Rees’ words
— A dozen Notre Dame defensive signees in Marcus Freeman’s and Al Golden’s words
NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
— Consensus four-star QB Kenny Minchey, former Pittsburgh commit
— Consensus four-star running back Jeremiyah Love, No. 4 RB in the country
— Five offensive lineman signees continue Irish trend up front
— Four receivers fill greatest Irish need
— Irish secondary boosted by four signees, speed included, despite Signing Day disappointment
— Three linebackers continue Marcus Freeman’s defensive emphasis, led by Drayk Bowen
— Four defensive linemen, led by consensus four-star Brenan Vernon
— Consensus four-star tight end Cooper Flanagan
— Brandyn Hillman, athlete who may end up on defense
Hartman is asked what his process moving forward is.
"Find the place with the coldest drinks."
And with that answer to @TonyBruin, that wraps his last presser as a Deacon.
— Conor O'Neill (@ConorONeill_DI) December 24, 2022
— Notre Dame freshman Steve Angeli values his practice reps as QB understudy
— Sam Hartman enters transfer portal
— My Take on Wake Forest: On sendoffs and memories
— Top 25 college football players in the transfer portal
— Roster management is a losing battle
— UNC QB Drake Maye: Transfer talk, $5M NIL deals all ‘rumors’
Some folks have negative opinions about NIL. But without it, things like this wouldn’t be possible…😊 https://t.co/fPxYGxzWoz
— Anthony Leal (@anthonyl3al) December 25, 2022