(KTXL) – As the college football season winds down, local product Ian Book has performed as well as any player in the nation this year as Notre Dame’s quarterback.
The El Dorado Hills native is leading the undefeated Fighting Irish into their conference championship game on Saturday against Clemson and Book’s name has been part of the Heisman Trophy discussion.
Six months ago Ian Book had no idea if he’d be able to do things like this in 2020.
“I mean, we didn’t even know if we were going to play like you said,” Book told FOX40. “When I was home, throwing with all my high school buddies, we were just kind of waiting for the word on when we could come back to campus and start preparing for a season.”
Fast-forward and it’s been a season to remember for Book and Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish are a perfect 10–0 and ranked No. 2 in the country ahead of Saturday’s rematch with former top-ranked Clemson in the ACC title game.
Book said that, although he’s played a lot of big games in his career, this feels like the biggest.
“This is a big game for us, but we’ve got three more to win,” Book explained. “We’ve got to win that national championship, it’s in sight for us. Just to be able to beat a team twice is really hard, so being able to do that would be huge and it would definitely get us into the playoffs.”
Book’s play for Notre Dame the second half of the season has been off the charts.
He put a lot into this year, passing up the NFL draft last April to focus on himself and the opportunity he is having now as a fifth-year senior for the Irish.
“I kind of wanted to treat this year as a professional year because I was a non-degree seeking student,” Book said. “So, it’s really judy focused on football all year and it’s really paid off. I’m just excited and happy I came back. Unfinished business so, I want to go win a national championship so that’s my main goal.”
And now there has been talk about the Heisman Trophy.
“It’s a dream come true. I’m just so glad I came to Notre Dame to play college football,” Book told FOX40. “I’ve heard about the Heisman Trophy for so long, I’ve watched all the winners, watched all the ceremonies. It’s everything. To be in the talk is just sweet. Again, I just feel really fortunate.”
Book’s decision to return to South Bend, Illinois, allowed the 22-year-old to secure his 30th victory as a starter two weeks ago, making him the winningest quarterback in school history.
“I think it will hit me later down the road once I leave Notre Dame and realize how many great quarterbacks have gone here and to just be able to have that record, for now, is pretty special. I’m definitely proud of it,” Book said.
Book said he’s proud but focused on the next few weeks.
Notre Dame will face off against Clemson for the ACC Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m.