Brian Kelly names Jack Coan as Notre Dame's starting quarterback

Tyler James
ND Insider
Jack Coan Throws the ball during Notre Dame football practice Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021 at the Irish Athletic Complex in South Bend. Coan was named the starting quarterback Saturday for the Sept. 5 season opener against Florida State.

Jack Coan has been named Notre Dame's starting quarterback.

Head coach Brian Kelly made the announcement Saturday on social media.

"All three quarterbacks distinguished themselves in the spring and preseason camp," Kelly said in a written statement. "Clearly, each has the skills necessary to lead, but Jack proved to be more consistent and therefore, going into our opener, gives us the best chance for success."

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The Wisconsin graduate transfer beat out sophomore Drew Pyne and freshman Tyler Buchner in the quarterback competition.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Coan enrolled at Notre Dame in February after missing the 2020 season with a foot injury at Wisconsin. That allowed him to supplement his résumé as a starting quarterback for the Badgers with evidence in the spring and summer that he could take over the role for the Irish.

Coan started all 14 games for the 10-4 Badgers in 2019. He finished the season 236-of-339 passing for 2,727 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. He started four games as a sophomore in 2018. That experience informed Notre Dame's decision to pursue Coan in the offseason.

"We didn't take him because he didn't play before," Kelly said earlier this month. "We took him because he had battle-tested experience in the Big Ten in a very good program, and quite frankly one that we respect in Wisconsin and (head) coach (Paul) Chryst and what they do. A lot of that had to do with where he came from and him being battle tested."

Jack Coan walks out to the field during Notre Dame football practice Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021 at the Irish Athletic Complex in South Bend.

Since arriving at Notre Dame, Coan surprised Kelly with his arm strength and athletic ability. Coan finished his Wisconsin career with -11 rushing yards despite rushing for 2,551 yards during his Sayville (N.Y.) High career.

"We knew we had a kid that was smart and tough from that perspective," Kelly said Thursday. "So the arm strength and the ability to run were a bit more than what we had bargained for, and we're happy for that. And then coming into the preseason camp and even this summer he’s been a really good leader.

"Our guys respect him and really follow him. That’s really hard to do when you’re only here for a very short period of time as a transfer. Really has done more than a lot of us had even expected. So very pleased with what he’s done."

Notre Dame opens its 2021 season at Florida State on Sunday, Sept. 5 with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ABC.

Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.