May 17, 2016
Despite previous plans for a busy summer of campus visits across America, coveted 2018 quarterback prospect Phil Jurkovec opted to conclude his widespread recruitment Monday night.
The 6’5″, 202-pound Pennsylvania product announced intentions to attend Notre Dame:
Jurkovec, rated No. 1 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks and No. 9 overall in 247Sports’ 2018 recruit rankings, chose the Fighting Irish over 15 alternative scholarship offers, all of which arrived in the past eight moths. The verbal commitment occurred during his third visit to South Bend since October.
“I came up here with the intent of committing,” Jurkovec told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. “It’s the right fit for me. The whole education of Notre Dame from the books to the spirituality, the whole university and everything that it offers. I just fell in love with it.”
The Pine-Richland High School sophomore certainly could have stretched this process deep into his prep career with several suitors in the mix. Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, UCLA and Alabama are among programs that also extended offers.
Jurkovec told Bleacher Report on May 7 he anticipated a pledge would take place at some point during his junior year but likely not before he attended summer camps at schools such as Pittsburgh, Penn State and Ohio State. Instead, he’s suddenly become the face of head coach Brian Kelly‘s latest recruiting haul.
Notre Dame, known for its selectivity when it comes to recruiting quarterbacks, identified Jurkovec as a priority target last fall. The Fighting Irish made him offer No. 1 among 2018 passers in November, according to Tyler James of the South Bend Tribune.
“To me, recruiting the quarterback position in particular, which is typically a one recruit type of position per class, I want to develop a great relationship with that potential prospect,” Irish offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said last national signing day, per James. “What we don’t want to do is offer 10-15 quarterbacks, get to know very few of them and then all of a sudden we’re out there trying to grab bag at the end or during camp.”
Notre Dame no longer needs to worry about a late scramble at the quarterback position in a cycle that still lasts another 21 months. If Jurkovec remains on board for the duration, Sanford and Kelly have quite a talent to build around.
“He’s still learning, but he can make all the throws downfield,” Elite 11 instructor Matt James observed after watching Jurkovec compete at The Opening’s Columbus regional earlier this month.
At 16 years old, there’s a lot to love about the trajectory of this Keystone State playmaker.
“He’s got a frame that gives him a lot of room to grow,” James said. “He has big hands. The ball comes slinging out of his hands. Once he kind of gets some of the drills down and becomes more polished with his footwork, that’s going to help his arm. He’s got a lot of room to improve, and I think that ceiling is what makes him so high on people’s boards.”
Jurkovec comes off as a kid who embraces the grind, which bodes well for his development before enrollment at Notre Dame.
“Every weakness I have, I try to make that a strength,” he said.
His sophomore season served as a showcase for Jurkovec‘s unique skill set. He torched opponents for 2,560 yards through the air, 1,250 yards on the ground and 31 total touchdowns, tossing just four interceptions.
Those statistics aren’t typically produced by an athlete of his physical stature.
“He’s 6’5″ and a dual-threat quarterback, which is something you don’t see very often,” 5-star Ohio State offensive tackle commit Josh Myers noted in Columbus. “Most taller quarterbacks don’t have that mobility.”
Notre Dame secures its highest-rated quarterback recruit since Elite 11 national finalist Brandon Wimbush signed in 2015. The Fighting Irish landed 3-star California passer Ian Book in the 2016 cycle and picked up a 2017 verbal pledge from 4-star Texas talent Avery Davis earlier this year.
Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports‘ composite rankings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.
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