PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: IAN BOOK
University of Notre Dame
Ian Book: What He Has Learned
by Claire Kramer & Will Jackson
At Notre Dame, there’s a magic in the sound of lots
of names: Montana, Theismann, Hornung, Quinn.
The Irish quarterback is one of the most visible
fi gures in college football, past and present. For the
man, it’s about representing himself, his team, his
school and, on top of that, always getting better.
Eyes are on him from the moment he steps on the
fi eld, and all those watching begin to write his story.
There are careers, seasons, even singular moments
that defi ne a player.
So, we should already know who Ian Book is, right?
When you ask him, his answer is remarkably simple...
Just a kid living the dream.
To get to this level, you have to have natural talent.
You have to have awareness, pocket presence,
calm under pressure. You have to balance your
time and shut out the naysayers and work when
not a soul watches. You have to be resilient, fearless,
You have to get up again, and again, and again.
And then, you have to get better. In a place like Notre
Dame, you are surrounded by history, records,
games and stories of lore that the Irish can recite
upon a singular callback. There’s an expectation
that you evolve, that you keep growing and push
the standard of excellence that has come to defi ne
Notre Dame football.
Now, after 20 games started for Ian Book, what
he has learned continues to defi ne who he is as a
player and as a man.
Notre Dame quarterback. An undefeated season
and a trip to the College Football Playo s. More
than 56,000 Instagram followers. Team captain.
To say that there’s pressure is painfully obvious.
“We say it all the time: ‘Pressure is a privilege
here,’” Book said. “There are so many other people
that would love to be doing what we’re doing.
We’re fortunate enough to be able to go out there
and do that and really seize the moment and play
for each other. That’s what it’s all about.”
Seize the moment. You play on a fi eld in front
of a green-clad crowd, almost 80,000-strong,
with millions watching at home. You pass for fi ve
touchdowns on three separate occasions, all in
the span of one season. You grace the cover of
Sports Illustrated. You rewrite the history books of a
college football program that boasts more than 130
years of existence.
But to live a dream, any dream, you need some
help, and you have to keep learning. Book says
he’s surrounded by people who have taught him
how to be the player he is, beginning with an individual
who attempted the same feats, experienced
the same pressure and defi ned his own era in
Notre Dame history.
Tom Rees, the quarterback formerly known as Tommy,
returned to Notre Dame in 2017 to coach his
old position. A four-year letterwinner for the Irish,
he fi nished his collegiate career as one of the most
prolifi c quarterbacks in program history. Entering
the 2019 season, Rees’ statistics ranked in the top
fi ve of 21 di erent single-game, single-season or
career passing categories in Irish records.
He knows what it takes to be the Notre Dame quarterback,
64 2019 CAMPING WORLD BOWL
and he and Book have created a strong
bond over the past few seasons.
“He taught me so much. He’s been there, he’s
been in the role,” Book noted. “So, when you can
learn from someone who has done it not that long
ago, it makes it that much easier.”
“People say a lot, people talk a lot; there are a lot of
haters,” Book shared. “He’s been through it, and he
made it. He lived out his dream, and now we’re living
out ours. He does a great job of mentoring us.”
WE’LL SEE YOUR CONFIDENCE,
AND RAISE YOU SOME MORE
The fi rst characteristic Book mentioned about his
personality comes as a surprise to no one who has
followed him over his career: confi dence.
Confi dence manifests in various ways, and Book’s
comes with the ability to keep calm under pressure,
to trust in his preparation and rely on his teammates
and coaching. Again, it comes as a surprise
to no one at Notre Dame, not the least of which is
Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly.
“I knew what we had; I knew what he was going to
give us,” Kelly told reporters after Book’s fi ve-passing
touchdown performance, his third of the season,
against Navy last week. “We maintained confi dence
in him. The only thing I ever said to him is, ‘Don’t lose
confi dence in yourself. Stay confi dent in yourself.’”
But, even the most natural of our tendencies need
to be strengthened.
“He works so hard. He does all the right things,”
Kelly continued. “He had to fi nd a mechanism, as
the quarterback at Notre Dame, to eliminate all the
noise that comes with it. He has found it, and he’s
in a great spot. He’s going to continue to progress.”
Confi dence is a must in a role as visible as the
Notre Dame quarterback. But, as the commander
of the o ense and a team captain, Book also takes
it upon himself to use his confi dence to bring the
rest of his team up with him.
“I’m confi dent with all the guys on this team,” Book
stated after the Navy game. “The defense is doing
an awesome job getting us the ball. They play so
well and give us so many opportunities. And then,
our o ense is starting to roll. It’s awesome. We’ve
got 10 other guys on the fi eld that are playing for
each other, and that’s when you fi nd success
“I am defi nitely confi dent, and this whole o ense
KNOW YOUR WHY
With all the opportunities to learn from those who
have done it before and those doing it now around
him, taking a moment to refl ect on his younger self
provides yet another lesson learned.
“I would just say to have fun,” Book expressed.
“Don’t let any moment get too big, just go out
there and have fun. That’s why you started playing
football when you were eight years old. You were
doing it to have fun.
“Don’t ever let that slip, and that’s the reason you
should be having fun out there.”
Because, after all, when he’s living his dream and
learning how to live it better every day, how could
it not be fun?
Book’s story has yet to be completed, but it is not
just the story of a singular student-athlete.
It’s the story of a quarterback who refi ned his natural
confi dence to bring his team with him. It’s the story
of a former Notre Dame great who returned because
he wanted to give back to the program that gave
so much to him. It’s the story of a team that bought
in to the excellence and tradition the Irish program
exudes. And, it’s the story of a boy, eight years old,
who dreamed of playing college football.
A team captain and leader in more ways that one,
Ian Book has made his mark on the Notre Dame
program and on the football landscape as a whole.
And, while his growth has helped his dream come
to fruition, the last thing he’s looking to do is stop.