Notre Dame’s quarterback depth chart got a boost in experience and talent when Wisconsin grad transfer Jack Coan decided to play for the Fighting Irish in 2021. Coan has been battling for the starting job and will need to continue to do so, but if he plays in 2021 as well as I think he can he’ll not only win the job, he’ll have an outstanding campaign.
297 com., 437 att., 68.0%, 3,278 yards, 23 TD, 8 INT - 5 rushing TD
Coan missed the 2020 season with a foot injury, which followed a 2019 campaign in which he led the Badgers to 10 wins, a trip to the Big Ten championship game and a Rose Bowl appearance. Wisconsin finished that season ranked 11th in the final standings that season.
Coan completed 69.6% of his passes that season, which was the highest mark by a Wisconsin quarterback since Russell Wilson in 2011. Since then not one Badger quarterback has completed more than 62.3% of his throws.
His best statistical performance came in a 61-0 win over Central Michigan when he completed 78.8% of his throws (26-33) while racking up 363 yards and three scores through the air. His most important performance came in a 38-17 road win over Minnesota, who finished the 2019 season ranked 10th. The Gophers were ranked 8th at the time of the matchup.
Coan completed 15-22 passes for 280 yards and a pair of scores to lead the Badgers to a convincing victory. His biggest throw of the gave can be seen above.
Coan has plenty of experience, having also started multiple games in 2018 when starter Alex Hornibrook went down with an injury. His value to Notre Dame begins with that experience, but it goes well beyond that. I’ve argued for months that Coan is a more physically talented quarterback than often given credit for and he’s capable of putting up impressive numbers in the Notre Dame offense.
Coan doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but its stronger than given credit for. He has a clean release and he shows good pocket mobility and pocket feel. The New York native shows top-notch ability to go through progressions and his anticipation is excellent. Coan is also a gutsy passer that is more than willing to attack the middle of the field, he’s willing to attack tight zones and he’s also willing to take a shot to make a play.
This video from the Big Ten title game against Ohio State is an example of how Coan consistently handles pressure. He’ll keep his eyes downfield and take a shot if needed to get a throw off. That is one trait that gives me confidence that Notre Dame’s pass game production from the quarterback position should be much better this season.
Coan isn’t the runner that the last five starting quarterbacks at Notre Dame were, but he’s a quality athlete that handles the pocket well. One area where he’ll need to improve is being more willing to dump the ball off. At times Coan held onto the ball too long as he looked to attack downfield and took a blindside hit that knocked the ball loose.
Coan stays healthy, plays to his full potential and gets support from the questionable offensive line and he puts up very, very impressive numbers. I'm thinking 3,500+ yards, 30+ touchdowns and the Irish offense puts up huge numbers this season.
Coan makes too many turnovers for Brian Kelly's liking and ultimately gets replaced by Drew Pyne or Tyler Buchner.
1. Can Coan stay healthy?
2. Will Notre Dame be patient with him if he makes some early mistakes?
3. Can the offensive line protect Coan effectively?
4. How quickly will Coan and the pass game weapons get fully in-sync.
5. Does Coan play to his full potential?
With each player profile we'll make a bold prediction that is geared towards addressing what the player's ceiling would look like. Every bold prediction will be positive, so clearly not all can or will happen, and they are a fun exercise. Here is the bold prediction for Coan:
Jack Coan is going to stay healthy and get off to a fast start in 2021. The result will be a season in which he passes Jimmy Clausen for the second best single-season passing mark in Notre Dame history and he'll pass Ian Book for the second most touchdown passes. That means more than 3,722 yards and more than 34 touchdown passes.
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