This time last year, Everett Golson had already been dismissed from the University and Gunner Kiel had initiated his transfer to Cincinnati, leaving the quarterback position with little to imagine, knowing that Tommy Rees would be controlling and managing the offense throughout the 2013 season. This summer the Irish are left with more questions than answers around who will be under-center throughout next season.
After a redshirt campaign began with contracting mononucleosis, Malik Zaire showcased his talents and leadership throughout 2014’s spring practice and believes he is ready to start for Notre Dame right now. Out of Kettering, Ohio, Zaire was a 4-star recruit according to Rivals.com and the #3 rated duel-threat quarterback in the 2013 class. Zaire enrolled in South Bend ahead of schedule in January 2013 assimilating into action in the 2013 spring game where he connected with C.J. Prosise for the only touchdown of the game. Zaire is a mobile, accurate and strong-armed quarterback from my observations and should be seriously considered to start week one against Rice.
With Golson’s evasive qualities displayed in 2012, fans were enamored with a new aspect of a mobile quarterback that had not been seen since Carlyle Holiday relinquished the starting role for Brady Quinn in 2003. As fans and media can only remember what they see, it is easy to want to cement Golson into the starting role. Also considering the road Golson took to get back into Notre Dame, naming Zaire as the starter would be national news and a distraction on one level or another.
Will coach Kelly risk what he knows he has in Golson, or try to maximize what the team might have in Zaire? The positive is that plenty of evaluation time remains before fall, but where will Kelly draw the line on working with Golson to get back into the University to play quarterback, with what actually might be in the best interest of the team?
No matter what happens, tough decisions are coming up this summer. With what Zaire can bring, he may not start against Rice, but I expect him to get some solid minutes, even if the game is still in hand.
Get ready for a whole lot to come of summer workouts!