Brian Kelly might want a do-over.
Notre Dame’s head football coach had the chance to parlay his outstanding 2012 season into serious NFL cash last January. Following Notre Dame’s loss to Alabama in the national championship game, Kelly immediately heard from the Philadelphia Eagles, who were in a desperate search for a coach. It only took Kelly a couple of days to turn down the Eagles.
In an issued statement he said, “Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame.”
As of yesterday, he’s probably wishing he had decided otherwise.
Late Saturday night it was revealed that Notre Dame’s returning quarterback Everett Golson was no longer enrolled at the university. Yes, that Everett Golson. The one who led the Irish on an improbable run to the title game. The one who orchestrated an Irish offense that once again had a pulse. No official reason was given for his departure, but the Chicago Tribune said it was due to an academic violation.
That’s the type of information Kelly would have liked to have known in January when turning down millions from the NFL to stay in South Bend.
Kelly’s options at quarterback for the 2013 season don’t inspire much confidence. Tommy Rees, the guy beaten out for the job by Golson last year, is the most obvious choice. He has a lot of experience behind center, having thrown for 4,413 yards and 34 touchdowns in three years on campus. If Gunner Kiel hadn’t transferred to Cincinnati, he certainly would have gotten a look as well.
Regardless of who it is, the Irish are in trouble next year. They have to replace a number of players including their top two running backs, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. Top receiving target Tyler Eifert is now in the NFL too, as well as Notre Dame’s top defensive player in years, Manti Te’o.
Kelly knew of those departures before he turned down the Eagles. He had no idea about Golson. Perhaps he would have decided differently if he had.
B.L. is a college football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed @coachlip.