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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Weis narrows QB options to Clausen, Jones, Sharpley

By Joe Schad
ESPN.com

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said Wednesday that the quarterback race has been narrowed to true freshman Jimmy Clausen, sophomore Demetrius Jones and junior Evan Sharpley.

This leaves out sophomore Zach Frazer, who may now pursue a transfer.

"Each of these three young men brought something unique to the QB competition," Weis said in a statement. "Evan ran the operation the best, Jimmy threw the ball the best, and Demetrius made the most plays. For these reasons, they will compete for playing time."

Weis had hoped to narrow the race to two by the end of spring practice. But because Clausen and Jones were so highly recruited and possess great talent -- Clausen as a passer and Jones as a dual-threat athlete -- and because Sharpley was the most steady throughout the spring, only Frazer could be eliminated.

Sharpley, Quinn's backup last season, is the only one of the three with game experience. He was in eight games last season, but threw just two passes, completing a 7-yarder against Michigan.

Clausen is the most highly touted player to arrive at Notre Dame since Ron Powlus in 1993. Clausen enrolled at Notre Dame in January after graduating from high school early.

Jones avoided possible controversy last week when prosecutors in LaPorte County dismissed a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession against Jones after the owner of a car he was driving said in court papers was sure Jones didn't know the marijuana was in the ashtray.

Notre Dame opens against Georgia Tech on Sept. 1 before road trips to Penn State and Michigan in the following weeks. Sharpley is a legitimate contender to start the opener because of his experience advantage.

Joe Schad is a college football reporter for ESPN. The Associated Press contributed to this report.