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Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Regular-season report card: Quarterbacks

By Matt Fortuna

The regular season is over and the end of the semester has arrived. Here, we grade Notre Dame's 2011 campaign by position, beginning with the quarterbacks.

QUARTERBACKS

Grade: B

Summary: Tommy Rees replaced Dayne Crist in the season opener, Andrew Hendrix replaced Rees in the regular-season finale, and the latter two will likely see plenty of time in the Dec. 29 Champs Sports Bowl, which Rees will start.

Coach Brian Kelly likes to remind everyone of Rees' record as a starter, which, at 12-3, cannot be overlooked. The sophomore has had good games and not-so-good ones this season, but the overall body of work for the 19-year-old has been impressive. Much of the criticism directed his way has to do with the fact he has, for one reason or another, been given a much longer leash than Crist, who lasted one half as a starter after a 7-for-15, 95-yard, one-interception performance against South Florida.

Rees' numbers have been strong, as he has completed almost 66 percent of his passes for 2,708 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. The problems? Twelve interceptions and an inability to run, which makes the dual-threat Hendrix such a popular pick after his relief performance at Stanford.

Backups: The cliche says there is no more popular guy on a major college football team than the backup quarterback, and right now Hendrix is reaping the benefit as he bides his time behind Rees. The Cincinnati native played the entire second half Nov. 26 at Stanford, completing 11 of 24 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 20 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. He should see plenty of action against Florida State and, coupled with freshman Everett Golson — who is currently redshirting — should create quite a decision for Kelly and the rest of the staff heading into 2012. Crist, meanwhile, has been released from his scholarship and will play out his final year of eligibility at another school.