Spotlight: Jimmy Clausen
Also Returning: Evan Sharpley
Lost: Demetrius Jones (transfer), Darrin Bragg, Justin Gillett (graduation)
Gained: Brian Castello, Nick Lezynski (walk-ons), Dayne Crist (freshman)
As a fan of Notre Dame and the Cleveland Browns in 2007, I'm well accustomed to the platitude about the backup quarterback being the most popular guy in town. But Jimmy Clausen is the starter, and that's very unlikely to change this year. As will be a common theme with these position previews, Clausen is a year older and a year wiser, and that will hopefully translate to better success on the field.
Much has been made of Clausen and Dayne Crist being only a year apart. But I don't see that as too much of an issue. If Crist sits out this year, he'll have four years of eligibility from 2009-2012. He can then serve as Clausen's backup for two years (Clausen's third and fourth year of eligibility), then start for two years. That's the way things are supposed to work. Quarterbacks should have a few years to learn the system while their predecessor is the star. College powerhouses aren't supposed to start from scratch with a freshman starter every four years.