Notre Dame Football: Time is Now For Malik Zaire

By Curt Popejoy
everett golson
Robert Mayer – USA TODAY Sports

There’s big news out of South Bend as it’s being reported that Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has left the Fighting Irish. There is a great deal of speculation surrounding the reasons for Golson leaving but for the Notre Dame coaching staff, this is already old news.

I suspect they have known Golson was going to be gone; whatever the reason may be, we will all know in time. The latest rumor making the rounds is that Golson was caught cheating and so his absence is related to academics, but far more interesting to me is what direction Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly will take now that Golson is gone.

The most experienced choice is senior quarterback Tommy Reese, who does have 18 career starts. The problem with Reese is that he doesn’t exactly inspire confidence and while he does have a good arm, he offers very little in terms of playmaking with his feet like Golson did.

Next on the list is redshirt junior quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who is a former 4-star prospect that never played up to expectations. He’s likely not in the mix at this point.

What the Fighting Irish need to do is take this opportunity to move forward for the future, not simply a stop gap measure in one of the older quarterbacks. Notre Dame was able to sign dual-threat quarterback Malik Zaire from Kettering. Ohio.

Zaire was the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2012 class and fortunately was a Spring entry at Notre Dame. He’s been practicing and training with the team and could be ready to go by Fall.

In fact, I’d go so far to say that rather than spending the Fall drills prepping Reese for the starting spot, the team should focus almost solely on Zaire and have Reese be the backup. Zaire has a lively arm and excellent athleticism to better run the Notre Dame offense.

I know that many Notre Dame fans are wondering if the 2013 college football season is lost, but it isn’t. This Notre Dame defense is going to be stout and if the coaching staff is smart, they will get Zaire up and going and give him the reins of what promises to be a very potent Fighting Irish offense.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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