Ex-QB Buchner back with Irish, but as receiver

Former Notre Dame starting quarterback Tyler Buchner, who joined the school’s lacrosse team this spring after playing football last fall at Alabama, will return to the Fighting Irish football team for the 2024 season as a walk-on.

Buchner will play wide receiver for the Irish. He had one assist in 10 games as a reserve midfielder for Notre Dame’s lacrosse team, which won its second straight national championship Monday against Maryland. Buchner, a junior, will also play lacrosse for Notre Dame in 2025.

“Being able to play the game I have loved since I can remember and playing for Notre Dame had been my dream,” Buchner wrote in a letter to the Notre Dame community. “I risked it all and believed I had lost it all, as I did not think even returning to football at Notre Dame would be in the cards.”

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound player opened the 2022 season as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback before missing 10 games to injury. After helping Notre Dame to a Gator Bowl win, he competed for the starting job in spring 2023 with Sam Hartman before transferring to Alabama, where he reconnected with offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

Last fall, Buchner started Alabama’s Week 3 game against South Florida but struggled, completing 5 of 14 passes for 34 yards. In his letter, Buchner wrote that he then was benched for the first time in his career, “fell into a deep emotional hole,” and “felt hopeless and hated football.” He wrote that he had scholarship opportunities to play quarterback elsewhere but wanted only to return to Notre Dame, where he took nine classes this spring to complete his degree.

Buchner will join a wide receiver group that includes Jordan Faison, a former walk-on who starred for Notre Dame’s lacrosse team this season, scoring 21 goals.

“It would have been easy for the football coaching staff to see me just as a player who had left, but instead, I am grateful they were able to see me as a young man eager to return and contribute in any way I could for the greater good of the team,” Buchner wrote.

Coach Marcus Freeman told ESPN in April that he had seen Buchner on the lacrosse field and wished him well as he reacclimated to the sport.

“He is a great young man and comes from a great family that will continue to do great things in the athletic world, but [also] in the game of life,” Freeman said then. “We’re a huge fan of Tyler Buchner, and I look forward to watching him have much success.”

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