Notre Dame’s 2019 class added another key piece on offense today when QB Brendon Clark pledged to the Irish. The 6’2″, 217-pound Virginian committed to Wake Forest almost a year ago, but backed away from that commitment after his recruitment picked up steam. He picked up a Notre Dame offer in early June and visited a couple of weeks later; the Irish reportedly made a big move on that visit, enough to overcome distance concerns. Clark chose Notre Dame over fellow finalists North Carolina and Clemson – and yes, Clemson’s interest was very real. We’ll get into this more below, but Clark’s commitment is a big one as it allows the Irish to maintain a solid pipeline at the position.
Recruiting Service Rankings
247 Composite — 3 star (0.8702 rating), #599 overall, #22 PRO, #16 in VA
247 Sports — 3 star (88 rating), #400 overall, #12 PRO, #10 in VA
Rivals — 3 star (5.6 rating), NR overall, #23 PRO, #16 in VA
ESPN — 3 star (78 rating), NR overall, #21 PRO, #12 in VA
In addition to Notre Dame, Clemson, North Carolina, and Wake Forest, Brendon Clark holds offers from Duke, Maryland, and Tennessee. I think his early commitment to Wake plus his approach to the recruiting process – he’s a straightforward kid who isn’t interested in being courted – kept this list shorter than it otherwise might’ve been.
A lot of people have connect Clark to Ian Book, and to a degree that’s understandable. The undersized Book is seen as the guy between The Guys, with Brandon Wimbush ahead of him and Phil Jurkovec behind him. Similarly, the “undersized” Clark has Jurkovec ahead of him and the prodigiously talented Drew Pyne behind him. I say “undersized” because that’s more of a perception due to the Book connection; Clark is a legit 6’2″ and a hair under 220, which is much closer to Wimbush’s 6’2″/228 than Book’s 6’0″/200.
The reality is that the placement between two higher-ranked prospects is what Clark and Book most have in common. Book is a good football player who can handle the job if needed, but he’s not an ideal full-time starter. I think Clark, on the other hand, has the physical tools to be a true QB1 if needed. Clark has better arm strength, for starters; there are plenty of examples on this film, but the one that jumped out to me is at the 7:15 mark. That’s a really nice throw to the sideline, with plenty of zip on it. There are some mechanical things to clean up; he falls away from the throw more often than I’d like, and his release from the pocket has a little bit of a windup to it. But there’s a lot more positive than negative here. He has that arm, he shows plus accuracy, and when he moves out of the pocket he does a nice job of keeping his eyes up and turning his shoulders. I actually like his release on the run a lot better than from the pocket.
As a runner, Clark shows a powerful north-south style with enough wiggle to make people miss in close quarters. He’s not Wimbush on the ground, but he definitely looks like a credible threat when he calls his own number.
If all goes well, Clark won’t see the field until he’s an academic sophomore at least. He may never be a full-time starter, but I think he has the ability to fill that role if needed. At worst his floor is a serviceable backup, at best he could potentially be an effective QB1.
Welcome to the Irish family, Brendon!