Notre Dame signee Phil Jurkovec is something of a throwback.
The 4-star quarterback is among the best in the country, and with the Irish set for a lengthy quarterback battle during the offseason, Jurkovec could have tried to graduate early and rush to campus like so many highly recruited quarterbacks do these days. He could have put himself in position to compete with Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book.
However, Jurkovec will resume his high school basketball career on Friday (weather permitting) after missing time to finish his prep football career at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last weekend. He won’t be enrolled as Notre Dame embarks on spring practice that could help determine its future at the position.
Sadly, that will put Jurkovec at an early disadvantage in South Bend, Ind.
It is not impossible that Jurkovec could arrive in the summer and so loudly announce his presence that he still is given a chance at winning the job. But it is increasingly unlikely for a freshman after other players are getting a head start in the weight room.
The upside for Jurkovec is he will get to experience prom (should he choose) and finish a basketball career that was almost as illustrious as his football career. And it is sad he would have to choose between those things and his best chance for success on the football field, but it is the reality of the times.
College football is better because of how freshmen develop so much before their first real game. And the consequence of a decision, no matter how tough, is something that every young man has to learn at some point.
It just so happens you’re asked to learn that lesson in a very high-profile way if you’re an incoming freshman quarterback. Jurkovec made an extremely reasonable decision to enjoy the final days of his youth, and he likely is aware what that means.
For Wimbush and Book, it gives them a chance to keep a third party at bay for at least a little while and, should either play really well, it likely would force Jurkovec to patiently wait his turn. That could theoretically take years, and his resolve could be tested.
However, perhaps a little time isn’t such a bad thing when you consider this is a teenager we are talking about.