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DeShone Kizer explains why being a 3-sport athlete made him a better quarterback

Notre Dame lost to Texas on Sunday night, but they did have the best player on the field. In fact, the problem was he wasn't on the field enough. I argued in the aftermath of the Irish's 50-47 double overtime setback that, had Brian Kelly given DeShone Kizer just one more series, the Irish probably win the game.

Kizer hit 15-of-24 passes for 215 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions -- efficiency rating: 206.5, highest Week 1 rating for any quarterback facing a Power 5 opponent -- while rushing 13 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. He looked, in short, like a future 10-year NFL quarterback.

Said NFL scout turned NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah:

DeShone Kizer came out on the losing end in Sunday night's double overtime battle against Texas, but NFL evaluators will come away highly impressed with the Notre Dame QB when they review the tape of his performance.

From his decision making to his poise to his playmaking with his legs -- he did everything against the Longhorns.

He's a big, strong player with prototypical size and arm strength. It's baffling that ND coach Brian Kelly went into the season with Kizer sharing time at QB with Malik Zaire, as Kizer is clearly the best option.

This game was well attended by scouts -- about 10 NFL teams were represented -- and Kizer showed why he belongs in the conversation when it comes to the top QBs in college football. He belongs squarely in the discussion, and that opinion isn't based solely on his performance against the Longhorns. He showed his potential when he nearly led the Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoff last season.

All this after a season in which he threw for 2,880 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns, keeping Notre Dame in the Playoff hunt until the final play of their final regular season game, as a redshirt freshman who spent the entirety of fall camp preparing to be a backup.

Kizer is very good at playing quarterback is the point here.

And much of the reason Kizer is so good, he says, is because he spent time playing sports other than football through high school:

"I think that was one of the best things that ever happened to me, to play three sports," Kizer said of playing football, basketball and baseball. "It allowed me, one, to create athletic ability that it takes to be able to adjust on the fly when you're playing at this high level. And two, I'm learning more about the quarterback position every day than I ever have. To go through all three sports in high school, I never really locked into one, so there's a lot of stuff I wasn't able to learn in high school where people have preached it since they've been eight years old. So a lot of that new stuff got put on me my redshirt freshman year when I was mature enough to learn from it, and now it's kind of put me at a higher learning curve now that I'm in my 20's where things are a little easier to understand."

It's only a matter of time before Kizer becomes one of the 85 percent of NFL draftees who played multiple sports in high school. Perhaps as soon as this spring. And, yes, players drafted by the NFL are by definition elite athletes who are gifted beyond the level of mere mortals and would be good at any sport they try, whether it be football, baseball or tiddlywinks. But, as Kizer testified above, skills learned in other sports have in turn advanced his development as a football player, not hindered it.

(HT @JJStankevitz)