Notre Dame Football: Is Book A Heisman Contender?

Over the last couple weeks, various fans and fan pages have asked the question, “why isn’t Ian Book in the Heisman Trophy discussion?” Most fans and fan pages seem to believe it’s a no-brainer that Book should be in the conversation. Think about this for a moment, is having a Heisman candidate QB worth the distraction?

A Look Back At Josh Adams

Last season after much discussion about Josh Adam’s and his non-Heisman status it finally happened. After the NC State football game. The questionable finally happened. Josh Adams was named to the Heisman watch list for the 2017 season. Hats were made, a Twitter account was set up and a video featuring the #33Trucking board was created to promote Josh Adams as a Heisman candidate . Folks even got together to make sure a #33Trucking sign was seen on ESPN’s College GameDay for all to see. A movement was in motion to make sure everyone knew about Josh and his Heisman candidacy.

Wake Forest

But then Wake Forest happened. Ranked #3 in the country, the Fighting Irish faced Wake Forest in a rainy afternoon game at ND Stadium. Adams didn’t play very long that afternoon. He played the first quarter in which he had 5 carries for 22 yards. Josh Adams wasn’t feeling himself and Coach Kelly took him out of the game.

In the post game press conference,a  question was asked about Josh Adams status. “What’s the status of Josh Adams and could he have gone back in?”  Coaches response: “Yeah, we were just really cautious with Josh. but, again, Josh was really being conservative. He was not ruled out of the game other than him not just feeling right. He had a busy week. He made all those hats by himself this week, stayed up late (Laughter.) No, he had a busy week with exams. He was a bit rundown this week. He wasn’t feeling himself.”


ND goes into Miami and loses the game 41-8 in a nationally televised game. Adams ran for 40 yards on 16 carries. But the loss cannot be put on an individual performance. All aspects of the game had failed. The offense and defense had a role in the loss. The offense spent much of the time on the sidelines as they couldn’t find their rhythm. The defense became exhausted from being on the field some much and they couldn’t catch their breath. The special teams had six punts from Newsome for 235 yards and the offense could not get into field goal position. Pressure was high to help Adams maintain his Heisman candidacy and in the end focus was lost. A team that had talked about focusing a lot during the season, had lost focus in the effort to promote the Heisman candidacy of Josh Adams.

Book Heisman Discussion

Fast forward to week 4 of the current season. Coach Kelly makes a move that most were waiting for. That move was to bring the Junior QB Ian Book into the starting role. Brandon Wimbush had a 3-0 record going into week 4. Ian Book gets the start against Wake Forest. Book has delivered in his first  four starts.

Wake Forest Statistics

After getting the nod from Coach Kelly to start, a new chapter starts with Book taking the helm.  Book put up some solid numbers. 25-34 for 325 yards, 3 rushing and 2 passing TD’s, and a QB rating of 173.2

Stanford Statistics

In his second start, Book was actually better in the game against Stanford. Book was 24-33 for 278 yards with 4 TD passes, including 15 carries for 47 yards and a QB rating of 183.5.

Virginia Tech Statistics

Though Ian had a rough go at VT his numbers are not that bad. Book was 25 for 35 for 271 yards, 2 TD passes, 1 INT and a QB rating of 149.6.

Pitt Statistics

A nail biter of a game against Pitt. A slow start for the offense but once again Book puts up impressive numbers. Book was 26 for 32 for 264 yards, 2 TD passes, 2 INT and a QB rating of 158.7. Rushing Book had 31 yards on 16 carries.

Final Stats Book

Book is having a tremendous season. He has stepped up as leader on offense and an overall leader on this team. He owns both this positive and negative actions on the field. He wants this team to perform at a higher level and he knows it starts with him. His combined stats through four games are as follows. 103-137 completion passing, 3 INT’s, 11 passing TD’s, 1151 total yards, QB rating of 167.87 along with 48 attempts rushing and 112 yards with 3 rushing TD’s.

In the end there is a lot of pressure applied to a team with a Heisman candidate. The team wants to see the player succeed and in the end too much focus can be applied and end in a losing effort.

Ian is the total package. Being named to the Heisman list doesn’t mean he isn’t a great quarterback. Learning from the past, not pushing for Book to be on the list is not a bad idea. Let him continue to excel on offense, and help the Irish continue in their winning ways. Playing in College Football Playoffs is better than any single individual award out there.  Team 130 doesn’t need the distraction that Team 129 faced with Josh Adams. Just continue to play as a team, for the love of the game and Our Lady Notre Dame.

Photo By Riley Trott
Shake Down The Thunder Sports


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