The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have signed quarterback Tyler Buchner.
TYLER BUCHNER PROFILE
Hometown: La Mesa, Calif.
High School: Helix
2019 Stats: 4,474 passing yards, 1,610 rushing yards, 53 passing touchdowns, 28 rushing touchdowns
IB Grade: 4.5 (Top 50 caliber player)
Upside Grade: 5.0
Offers: Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, USC, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, TCU, Utah, UCLA, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, Yale, Columbia, Penn
Recruited By: Tommy Rees, Chip Long
SI99 Rank: No. 59 overall
ESPN: 4-star - No. 41 overall
247Sports: 4-star - No. 90 overall
Rivals: 4-star - No. 114 overall
Composite: 4-star - No. 70 overall
Buchner is an advanced passer that still has plenty of room to improve from a technical aspect. At the end of the day, however, Buchner's combination of arm talent, athleticism and playmaking ability makes him a truly special prospect. Only 2018 signee Phil Jurkovec and 2011 signee Everett Golson graded out as high at quarterback in the Brian Kelly era.
Buchner does not the pure arm strength at Jurkovec and Golson possessed, but it still grades out well. What makes his arm talent elite is that his arm strength is enhanced by an incredibly quick release. Not since Jimmy Clausen signed has a Notre Dame quarterback signee showed the advanced feel for playing the position that Buchner displayed as a junior. His anticipation and timing are excellent, and there is snap after snap on film where Buchner is releasing the ball before his receiver is out of his break. His ability to throw receivers open is on the level you’d expect from a college quarterback, not a high school junior that missed all but one game the previous season.
Buchner is incredibly diverse, which is part of the reason is intangible grade is so high. He can play a clean game from the pocket, he can be a gunslinger that changes his arm angles and throws on the run, and he look like a run-throw quarterback, evidenced by his 1,610 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on the ground.
The altered throwing motion he displayed during the summer and him not playing as a senior due to California canceling the high school season give me cause for some slight concern, and it's why he is no longer a five-star. Based on the last game film we saw from Buchner, he also must continue improving his footwork, which is a driving force behind him being off target when he does miss.
NOTRE DAME FIT
First and foremost, Notre Dame wants a quarterback that can go through progressions and beat teams from the pocket. Buchner has the arm strength, release speed, accuracy and intelligence to become that kind of player.
Buchner has the athleticism and running talent to do damage when plays break down, and he can make plays out of the pocket. He can do all the things that Ian Book did in the last month, but Buchner is bigger, more athletic, more dynamic and has a much better arm than Book possessed at the same age.
He and Phil Jurkovec were the two highest graded quarterbacks to sign with Notre Dame in the last decade. While Jurkovec had better size, was far more productive in high school and had a stronger arm, Buchner has a more concise throwing motion and is a bit more comfortable playing from the pocket.
JOHN GARCIA, SI ALL-AMERICAN, ON BUCHNER
“Buchner has had an eventful two years from his ACL injury to a dominant junior season and then the incomplete many prospects were dealt in 2020. At his best, he can challenge a defense with a big arm, great athleticism and plus decision-making. He can elude the rush with solid feel, get off his midline and either reset quickly to pitch or deliver well when flushed. While his stroke and delivery can be inconsistent at times, the Friday night efficiency was there in 2019. Buchner has solid mental processing in mid-range concepts, along with the ability to pitch to perimeters with anticipation and perform off-platform as needed."
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