Notre Dame recruiting got off to a strong start this cycle when four-star quarterback Phil Jurkovec committed on May 16, 2016. Since then, the Irish have added several strong pieces to the puzzle and the class has come together to form strong bonds. The standout from Gibsonia, Pa., has played a big part in that.
On Sunday, Jurkovec arrived in South Bend to reunite with several commits and recruit a few top targets.
“We were just hanging out, it was me, the (Ademilola) twins, Markese Stepp was with us earlier but he had to go, Shayne Simon and Derrik Allen,” Jurkovec said. “We wanted to go to the lake and we ended up swimming there. The life guard let us take out a canoe. It was fun.”
Notre Dame’s current class is in constant contact via social media and text. Getting together for events like Irish Invasion is something that Jurkovec always values.
“For me, it’s great,” Jurkovec said. “I like all the kids. I’ve been able to meet almost all of them in person. The ones I haven’t met in person, I still reach out to them and we text a lot. We have a good bond. I get along with them well.”
Recruiting the top talent on campus was among Jurkovec’s top priorities on the weekend.
He had a great time watching the Stanley Cup Finals with a large passing target from the South.
“I got to hang out with George Takacs a good amount, the tight end from Florida,” Jurkovec said. “We were hanging out and watching the Pens game actually. We were hanging out with a bunch of the guys.
“He’s really cool, I like him a lot. He’s a big dude, definitely a nice target to hit. He’s really interested. He told me that he’s going to a few other schools to check them out, but it sounds like Notre Dame is in a very good position with him.”
Jurkovec shared some insight on where Notre Dame sits with one of their top targets on the defensive side of the ball.
“I was talking to (Shayne Simon) and he was saying he really likes Elko’s 4-2-5 defense,” Jurkovec said. “The (Ademilola) twins are liking our chances with him.”
Of course, Jurkovec has been eyeing the top pass catchers on Notre Dame’s board and promoting the Irish with each of them.
“Kevin Austin is probably the number one receiver which I’m looking at right now,” Jurkovec said. “Another one of those kids is Chase Cota from Oregon, Kamryn Babb, Lawrence Keys, Amon-Ra St. Brown too, as far as wide receivers.
“For tight ends, it’s Jeremy Ruckert and George Takacs and it sounds good for Takacs so far. There’s a number of other guys on defense too.”
Jurkovec suffered a tough blow last year when he tore a tendon in his right thumb during the sixth game of his junior season.
In six games of action, the 6-foot-5, 202-pound four-star managed 1,673 yards passing (278.8 yards per game) for 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Jurkovec says his thumb is as good as ever.
“It’s completely normal,” Jurkovec said. “I honestly forget about it, that it even happened. Everything’s good, the surgery went really well. I did rehab during the basketball season. So, it’s all good.”
Originally recruited by former Notre Dame quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, Jurkovec has built a strong relationship with his new future position coach and former Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees.
“I like coach (Mike) Sanford a lot but since coach (Tommy) Rees came along, he’s just a great guy,” Jurkovec said. “He’s really fun to hang out with and he knows the sport and he’s a very good coach. He knows his stuff. I’m really excited to have him as the quarterbacks coach.”
Jurkovec reflected on how he came to his decision to commit to Notre Dame over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and more.
“It was the great mixture that they have,” Jurkovec said. “The academics, definitely, one of the top schools in America. And then for football, the success that they’ve had in the past, the coaches are great and just the whole atmosphere and the culture. I felt at home, so that’s mainly why I committed.
“That, and I was always a Notre Dame fan growing up.”
Over 18 games at Pine-Richland, Jurkovec has totaled 4,223 yards passing for 32 touchdowns and six interceptions.
On the ground, Jurkovec has done significant damage, racking up 1,731 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Scout’s No. 85 overall recruit has broken the 100-yard rushing mark in seven games.
With Brandon Wimbush having three years of eligibility remaining and Jurkovec firmly cemented in the 2018 class, the future of the quarterback position is bright in South Bend.