Steve Hare /

The Bigger Picture: How Phil Jurkovec Fits

Irish Illustrated takes an in-depth look at what Notre Dame is getting in one of the Class of 2018’s premier quarterbacks.


Notre Dame landed its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Monday when Gibsonia (Pa.) Pineland-Richland quarterback Phil Jurkovec gave his pledge during a visit to campus.

The 6-foot-5 ½, 200-pound signal-caller, a four-star, is billed as one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks in his class.

Alabama, Clemson, Kentucky, Michigan State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin comprised Jurkovec’s offer list.

Jurkovec is a home run acquisition for Brian Kelly; he’s a pass first quarterback that can stand in the pocket and make all of the throws as well as run the read-option and scramble when necessary. His commitment is the ideal foundation for constructing an offense that affords Kelly and Mike Sanford full use of their playbook.


Consider the quarterbacks Mike Sanford will communicate with on a regular basis going forward: Malik Zaire, DeShone Kizer, Montgomery VanGorder, Brandon Wimbush, Ian Book, Avery Davis and Phil Jurkovec.

The Red Army is in good hands through 2022.

Jurkovec had offers that spanned the country, but no one recruited him harder than Sanford. Jurkovec first stepped foot on campus last October with his parents for the USC game. That was his first time interacting with the Irish staff.

Sanford would see Jurkovec in action for the first time less than a month later, the Friday night before Notre Dame’s game at Pittsburgh. The Irish offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach offered a day later.

Notre Dame was just the sixth offer for Jurkovec. Only Michigan State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Wisconsin beat the Irish in that department.

Most programs, including Notre Dame, prefer to sign one quarterback per class. Jurkovec’s commitment, provided Notre Dame turns it into a signed letter of intent, frees Sanford to recruit other positions and get a head start on quarterbacks in future hauls.

A high-profile quarterback commitment, which is what Jurkovec gives Notre Dame, should have a positive impact on the offensive skill positions Notre Dame will recruit in 2018 and beyond.


There’s always Class of 2019 quarterback J.T. Daniels to track, although any decision from the Mater Dei star is a long ways off. He was Notre Dame’s first offer in that class and visited this off-season with his 7-on-7 squad. Daniels doesn’t need to rush his decision and Notre Dame doesn’t need to rush with its next quarterback.

One thing is for sure, Jurkovec should be it in the Class of 2018 for Notre Dame.


Kizer will enter his final season of eligibility at Notre Dame in the same year Jurkovec enters his first one.

Wimbush is likely to red shirt this season, which means he should be on the roster through the 2019 season. If that’s the case, Wimbush would be a fifth-year senior that fall with senior Ian Book, junior Avery Davis and a sophomore Jurkovec also in play. That would represent the ideal for Notre Dame, a quarterback in every recruiting class to space out the depth chart.

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