It would seem that freshman quarterback Drew Pyne is already being passed over in the minds of many in the world of Notre Dame football fandom. Anytime the conversation about the future starter at Notre Dame comes up, its Class of 2021 commit Tyler Buchner that is assumed to be the next star for the Irish.
But if I know Pyne that is fine by him, and being overlooked is something he’s used to. Throughout his prep career there were many who seemed to ignore his strengths in order to focus on what he might lack. He’s not the biggest quarterback, he doesn’t have the cannon arm of other top players at the position, and he’s not an elite athlete.
Overlook Pyne at your own peril.
The first-year Notre Dame signal caller is a highly competitive precision passer that just knows how to make plays.
Despite already being a Top 100 player (at the time) and a Notre Dame commit, Pyne still traveled from tournament to tournament, and camp to camp to compete against the nation’s best players. He had nothing to prove to outsiders, and if anything he had more to lose than he had to gain, but Pyne couldn’t go without competing, and he wanted to compete against the best.
That is a trait Notre Dame fans will likely find appealing in the young quarterback.
Pyne is not going to back down from any players currently on the roster, and he’s not going to back away from competition from anyone that joins the roster in the future.
No, Pyne isn’t going to blow you away with a cannon arm, but I would argue his arm is better than many give him credit for. I would argue his arm is better than current starter Ian Book’s arm was at the same age, and it’s certainly better than what Tommy Rees had during his early Irish career.
What makes Pyne such an effective player, however, is his precision as a passer. This includes his ability to not only accurately throw the football, but to make fast reads, correct reads and then getting the ball out quickly.
When you look at the weapons Notre Dame recruited in the 2018-20 classes, and what it could potentially add in the 2021 class, whoever is at quarterback will need to be just as much of a great distributor as he is a playmaker, and Pyne has the tools to be a top-notch distributor.
MUST GET STRONGER
To get to the point where he can compete for the backup role in 2020 or the starting role down the road, Pyne will need to get stronger. This includes adding a bit more zip to his fastball, but it also means filling out his 5-11 1/2, 194-pound frame.
Pyne will need to add mass and strength if he's going to hold up over an entire 12-game regular season. As he fills out and adds a bit more velocity as a thrower, you’ll see his pocket playmaking ability improve. Pyne isn’t a runner, but he’s a quality athlete, and additional size and strength will help him do a bit more damage as a chain-mover with his legs.
His combination of intelligence and competitiveness will result in Pyne pushing sophomore Brendon Clark in fall camp. Clark has more physical tools, but Pyne is more advanced from a fundamental standpoint. I would predict Clark to win the job, but I won’t be shocked if at some point Pyne is able to overtake the more “talented” players on the roster.
Click HERE to read my analysis of Pyne coming out of high school.
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