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QB Tyler Buchner enters transfer portal, keeps option open to return to Notre Dame

Tyler Buchner explains why he feels so good about his game after spring ball and talks about his relationship with new Irish quarterback Sam Hartman.

Tyler Buchner will follow Drew Pyne into the transfer portal, but the junior quarterback is keeping open a path back to Notre Dame, he announced Tuesday.

Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game made it more clear than ever that Wake Forest graduate transfer Sam Hartman will start for the Irish in 2023, leaving Buchner in a backup role no matter Notre Dame’s coaching staff claiming the quarterback competition would continue into the preseason. At the position that most needs playing time to prove itself to the next level, Buchner will enter the transfer portal to find some, but if he does not feel those situations are better than the one for him at Notre Dame, he could return.

“The people, and especially my teammates, are what make [Notre Dame] special to me,” Buchner wrote on Twitter. “I have decided to enter the transfer portal in order to explore my options, and decide what is best for my future.

“After discussions with [head coach Marcus Freeman], remaining at Notre Dame is thankfully an option I’m continuing to consider.”

Buchner needed to enter the transfer portal this week in order to be on a different roster before next season, but he does not need to exit the portal by any particular point other than the season’s start.

Buchner has never had the chance to put together a full season of development, through no fault of his own. Injury cost him a season in high school, and then the pandemic erased his senior year. As a freshman in 2021, he backed up Jack Coan, used mostly in situational roles, and then a shoulder injury kept him to three games last year.

Attempting only 118 pass attempts in 13 collegiate games is only the tip of the iceberg of Buchner’s inexperience. He threw only 439 passes in games in high school. To put that into context, Pyne had 1,111 pass attempts in high school.

Combine those numbers and Buchner has thrown 557 passes in games in the last five years. Sam Hartman threw nearly three times that many — 1,597 — in college games alone over the last five seasons at Wake Forest.

Buchner has three seasons of eligibility remaining, the sole perk of missing 10 games last season due to that shoulder injury, but the impressive spring from early-enrolled freshman Kenny Minchey and the continued (and increasing) hype around 2024 quarterback commit CJ Carr would give Buchner new challenges in South Bend even after Hartman departs following this season.

For now, without Buchner on hand, the Irish will pencil in sophomore quarterback Steve Angeli as Hartman’s backup.

Buchner won the quarterback competition against Pyne a year ago but struggled in the first two games of the season before that injury sidelined him. He threw two interceptions against Marshall, counterbalanced by rushing for two touchdowns, while completing just 56 percent of his passes for 378 yards while averaging 7.56 yards per pass attempt.

When Pyne entered the transfer portal following the regular season, eventually landing at Arizona State, Buchner started the Gator Bowl and showed both his floor and his ceiling in one game. He threw three touchdowns and three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, while rushing for two more touchdowns. Yes, in a game with 11 touchdowns, Buchner accounted for seven of them one way or another.

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