Leftovers & Links: Brandon Wimbush heads to Central Florida for his final season
Former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush will continue his career at Central Florida. Wimbush announced his graduate transfer destination Tuesday morning.
“The journey continues on …,” Wimbush wrote on Instagram. “A sincere thank you to Notre Dame for giving me endless opportunities on and off the field. Words truly can not (sic) describe what this incredible University and the PEOPLE mean to me and always will mean to me. I’m truly thankful. Cannot say it enough.
“With that being said, I am excited to announce that UCF has granted me an awesome opportunity to play my last year of collegiate football for their great University.”
Wimbush will enter into a starting opportunity, although an unfortunate one and a competitive one. The late November horrendous knee injury to three-year starter McKenzie Milton will almost-assuredly sideline him through the 2019 season. If not for the injury, Milton would either be starting 2019 for the Knights or headed to the NFL.
In his first year of any action, sophomore Darriel Mack played in 10 games for Central Florida, completing 51 of his 100 pass attempts for 619 yards and three touchdowns, including going 35-of-71 for 526 yards and three scores in the two-plus games Milton missed.
In other words, Mack put up Wimbush-esque numbers, despite Heupel’s high-scoring offense.
Wimbush finishes his Irish career with a 13-3 record as a starter, including four wins during 2018’s unbeaten regular season. After the Notre Dame offense failed to break 24 points in the first three games of the season, offensive coordinator Chip Long turned to Ian Book for a spark, one Book provided and then some.
Wimbush’s role became non-existent after that, aside from a Senior Day start in place of an injured Book, throwing for 130 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards.
RELATED READING: The quarterback Notre Dame needed, Brandon Wimbush
In the lead-up to the Cotton Bowl, word broke Wimbush would seek a graduate transfer, confirming what had long been obvious. It had been so clear, it did not faze anyone within the Irish locker room.
Sam Mustipher on Brandon Wimbush, in case you needed clarification on how Wimbush is viewed in the locker room.— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) December 26, 2018
"In only the fashion that Brandon Wimbush could, news breaks that he’s gonna be moving on and people only love him even more. I make fun of him for it."
Mustipher and Co. will now have reason to keep an eye on the Knights in 2019. After going 25-1 in the last two seasons, Central Florida will want to keep the momentum rolling, particularly with Stanford arriving in Orlando on Sept. 14, a week before the Knights head to Pittsburgh. The Knights genuinely entering the College Football Playoff conversation remains unlikely, but topping those two before rolling through the American Athletic Conference would at least start the discussion, especially if a former Irish quarterback headlines the way.
A consensus three-star prospect out of Virginia, Mack held offers from eastern schools in the Big Ten (Maryland), Big 12 (West Virginia) and ACC (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh).
Named 2018’s Next Man In, Wimbush finishes his Irish career with 2,606 yards on 193-of-382 passing with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions along with 1,155 rushing yards and 16 additional touchdowns.
AS FOR NOTRE DAME’S QB IN 2019 …
Early Heisman odds came from an online sportsbook Tuesday, betonline.ag. Irish rising senior Ian Book was given 16-to-1 odds, tied for ninth on the listing. Given the names ahead of him, Book’s realistic chances of winning the Heisman Trophy are slim. Only Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa have odds lower than 12-to-1, at 7-to-2 and 4-to-1, respectively.
Then come two Notre Dame opponents — Georgia running back D’Andre Swift and quarterback Jake Fromm, both at 12-to-1. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson checks in at 25-to-1, just ahead of Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello at 33-to-1.
If nothing else, Book can count on some early-season hype if the Irish top Swift and Fromm on Sept. 21.
INSIDE THE IRISH READING
— Even the ‘way-too-early’ 2019 polls already respect Notre Dame— Notre Dame’s offensive depth chart entering the 2019 offseason— Claypool’s return welcome news for Notre Dame— Program-record 10 early enrollees mark the beginning of Notre Dame’s 2019— Autry Denson leaves Notre Dame to take over at Charleston Southern— Notre Dame’s Opponents: Early NFL departures hit Georgia, Michigan and Stanford hardest
— Brandon Wimbush and UCF are a promising match for a pivotal 2019
— The three biggest questions in college football for the 2019 season
— 2019 NFL draft underclassmen tracker: Who has declared?— Stanford’s Bryce Love ‘on the path to recovery’ from torn ACL— College football’s 100 best games 2018-19