Quarterback Phil Jurkovec already made his backup plan.
The Notre Dame sophomore committed to transferring to Boston College on Saturday, according to a report from Andy Backstrom of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper.
Jurkovec visited Boston College’s campus this weekend after entering his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal earlier in the week. Jurkovec did not immediately respond to the Tribune on Saturday after he retweeted a post from Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley that appeared to be a commitment celebration.
The 6-foot-5, 227-pound Jurkovec opted to leave Notre Dame rather than sit behind starting quarterback Ian Book for a third season. Jurkovec used only one year of eligibility with the Irish by playing in seven games as a sophomore last season. Jurkovec will have three years of NCAA eligibility available at Boston College, but unless he receives a transfer waiver to play immediately, one of those years will be exhausted while sitting out the 2020 season.
If Jurkovec completes his eligibility at Boston College, that would put him in line for a Notre Dame reunion when the Irish host the Eagles in 2022.
Jurkovec leaves Notre Dame with unfulfilled expectations. On the day Jurkovec signed with Notre Dame in December 2017, Irish head coach Brian Kelly called Jurkovec the best quarterback in the country.
“He’s somebody that I could put up against any quarterback that I’ve ever seen,” Kelly said that day.
Jurkovec finished his high school career at Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland, just outside of Pittsburgh, with a 16-0 record and a PIAA Class 6A state championship. In 34 games as the starter for Pine-Richland, Jurkovec amassed 8,202 passing yards, 2,942 rushing yards, 71 passing touchdowns and 43 rushing touchdowns.
Rivals ranked Jurkovec as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback and No. 87 overall in the 2018 recruiting class. 247Sports slated him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback and No. 115 overall. Both rated him as a four-star recruit.
But Kelly never found it necessary to give Jurkovec playing time in high-leverage situations in his two seasons at Notre Dame as the Irish compiled a 23-3 record combined in 2018 and 2019. The starting quarterback job belonged to Book, and Jurkovec only entered games late in blowouts. Jurkovec completed 12 of his 16 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 22 times for 156 yards in action against New Mexico, Bowling Green, Michigan, Duke, Navy, Boston College and Iowa State last season.
At Boston College, Jurkovec will join a quarterback group lacking star power. Anthony Brown, who started 28 games in three seasons before a season-ending leg injury in the sixth game of 2019, entered the transfer portal in December. Redshirt sophomore Dennis Grosel, a former walk-on, ended last season as Boston College’s starting quarterback. He finished 75-of-155 passing (48 percent) for 983 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions after starting seven games.
The 2019 Boston College roster also included redshirt freshman Matt Valecce, and true freshmen Sam Johnson III and Daelen Menard at quarterback. None of them, including Brown, received higher than a three-star rating from Rivals or 247Sports.
Boston College fired head coach Steve Addazio in December after seven seasons. The Eagles replaced him with Hafley, the former co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Boston College recently hired Frank Cignetti Jr. as its new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Cignetti, a Pittsburgh native, worked as the quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers in recent years. Hafley, who worked at Pitt from 2006-10, also has NFL assistant coaching experience.
They’ll be tasked with helping Jurkovec reach the potential that so many, including Kelly, once saw in him.