Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another Irish QB Gone

OK, so it might seem like I'm piling on Notre Dame here (I am a little), but it appears another Irish QB and top recruit has left the program to find playing time elsewhere.

This time it's game one starter Demetrius Jones who has reportedly decided to transfer to Northern Illinois. Jones got his one and only start two weeks ago against Georgia Tech and completed a grand total of one pass before being pulled from the game. First for Evan Sharpley and then by freshman sensation Jimmy Clausen.

The defection of Jones comes on the heels of the pre-season transfer of fellow QB recruit Zach Frazier to Connecticut. Jones and Frazier were two of Irish head coach Charlie Weis' prize recruits in 2006, his first full recruiting class as the head man in South Bend.

It was widely speculated that the presence of Clausen just a year after Jones and Frazier were brought in might cause this type of thing to happen, but after Frazier transferred many thought he'd be the only one. Now with Jones out of the picture as well it leaves the Irish with only Clausen and Sharpley as viable options under center.

What this does do for the Irish football program is place the weight of expectation squarely on the shoulder of Clausen who got his first start last week at Penn State. While his numbers in that game weren't particularly wonderful, the freshmen did show poise and pocket presence that belies his age.

There have been rumors that this is exactly what Weis wanted in the first place, not necessarily having both of his sophomore quarterbacks transfer, but going with Clausen from the beginning. No quarterback in recent memory has come along with more hype than Clausen and now he gets to show what he can do without the fear of getting pulled.

One has to wonder however what kind of impact the transfers of Jones and Frazier might have on quarterback recruiting for Notre Dame in the future. Weis has shown he's not shy about rolling with the younger guy if he feels he's the best available player, a fact that might scare off some potentially big time recruits. Not to mention the fact that in the short term any young QB that comes in will have an uphill battle to fight for playing time behind Clausen.

In case you're wondering, Weis has already picked up a verbal commitment from another top quarterback recruit in 6-foot-5 Dayne Crist out of Sherman Oaks, California. Rated as a 4-star recruit by, Crist turned down offers from USC, Oregon, Florida State, Michigan and Nebraska.

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