Film study: Notre Dame QB commit Ian Book
QB Ian Book, 6-1, 195; El Dorado Hills (Calif.) Oak Ridge.
The numbers: Book completed 224 of 346 passes (65 percent) for 3,049 yards and 30 touchdowns with only five interceptions in his senior season for Oak Ridge High. He also rushed for 779 yards and 12 touchdowns on 129 carries. The Trojans (10-3) ended their season with a loss in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinals.
The rankings: 247Sports – Three stars, No. 17 pro-style quarterback. Rivals – Three stars, No. 14 pro-style quarterback.
First impression: Book is an accurate passer with solid footwork and a good sense for working in and out of the pocket. He improved in his athleticism from his junior year and established himself as a better runner. Book is more than just a player to fill the yearly quarterback quota.
Strengths: Book has shown the ability to deliver the football all over the field. He possesses a quick release and throws with great accuracy. He works best when throwing on rhythm and making quick decisions. Book’s mechanics keep him balanced in the pocket. He’s also able to keep his throwing mechanics when rolling out of the pocket. He isn’t afraid to run and makes good decisions on when he needs to. And if a defender tries to make an easy tackle, Book will lower a shoulder to deliver a hit.
He did what? (1:34) Book starts with a play fake and then drops into the pocket. He rips the ball more than 50 yards downfield to hit his receiver in the end zone … (2:33) Book surveys the field while rolling right but can’t find an open receiver. He pump fakes, cuts swiftly behind a blocker and commits to the run. He’s met near the goal line by a defender but plows over him for the touchdown … (4:23) After not finding an open receiver, Book drops back farther in the pocket to buy some time. With a defender closing in on him, he floats a pass down the sideline to a well-covered receiver. But Book puts the ball where only his target can catch the ball and completes the back-shoulder fade on fourth down … (4:54) Book is quickly forced out of the pocket by a pass rusher coming from his left. He avoids the rush and continues to roll out to his left while keeping his eyes downfield. That allows him to find an open receiver, square up and deliver a ball that travels more than 30 yards and leads to a touchdown.
Competition level: Book went up against some of the top teams in California as a senior. Oak Ridge defeated Del Oro (No. 15 in the state according to MaxPreps), Rocklin (No. 31) and Granite Bay (No. 48) and lost to Folsom (No. 8) and Elk Grove (No. 16). The Trojans also lost to Sparks Reed (No. 3 in Nevada). Book completed 69 of his 102 passes for 870 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception in those three losses. While southern California is known as a recruiting hotbed, Book played against plenty of talent in the Sacramento area.
Left to prove: What separates Book from being a four-star recruit is likely beyond his control: size. He may be a shade under his listed height and doesn’t have enough of the elite athleticism for analysts to ignore it. After a highly productive high school career, Book will join a crowded depth chart. He won’t have the best arm on the team and probably can’t outrun at least some of the other quarterbacks. His accuracy will have to be what sets him apart. Can he continue to be precise with his throws in the smaller windows and make quick decisions? The sooner he gains the trust of offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, who hand-picked him twice as a recruit, the sooner Book becomes a real name in the quarterback competition.