Everett Golson, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback from a team that reached the BCS Championship Game last season, has been suspended due to what he refers to as “poor academic judgment.” Golson apologized to fans in a statement in which he takes full blame for his actions regarding academic decisions, whatever they may be. Regardless, the door to playing once again in South Bend has not been slammed shut. Golson has said he intends to return and regain his eligibility for 2014. But there may be some other options to continue playing football as well opening up for Golson.
According to a report by Brian Hamilton, Notre Dame beat reporter for The Chicago Tribune, there is interest in Golson from at least one coach with SEC ties, although exactly which coach and which program could be in the hunt remain unknown at this point.
According to Hamilton, “On Sunday, a coach from an SEC school contacted a person close to the Notre Dame program to inquire about Golson.”
A couple of SEC schools have been tied to quarterback transfer rumors this off-season. Tennessee and Vanderbilt were thought to be in the mix for Oklahoma State transfer QB Wes Lunt, but a block by Oklahoma State prohibited any SEC school from landing Lunt. Given that Golson’s problems are based on academics, it would be unlikely Vanderbilt would be too interested at this time in Golson. Another SEC school recently tied to QB transfer news was Mississippi State. Mississippi State had been in pursuit of Penn State’s Steven Bench, who chose to transfer to South Florida last week over the Bulldogs. Tennessee and Mississippi State would make sense as potential candidates for Golson, but there have been no reported ties to Golson’s recruitment as of yet.
Golson completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He was intercepted six times and rushed for 298 yards as Notre Dame put together just enough offense to ride the coattails of a solid defensive unit to a 12-0 regular season. Notre Dame was pounded by SEC champion and defending BCS champion Alabama in the BCS Championship Game in Miami, 42-14.
Regardless of where Golson goes from here, Notre Dame will have to figure out a new starting quarterback option in 2013. Senior Tommy Rees appears to be the most likely candidate to step in and take over the offense once again, but Andrew Hendrix could also be a viable candidate to start in 2013. Rees has been up and down during his time in South Bend and he has been in and out of head coach Brian Kelly’s metaphorical doghouse. One other option to keep in mind could be Class of 2013 recruit Malik Zaire. The four-star dual-threat quarterback from Dayton, Ohio was enrolled early and has already been able to get some practice time in with the Irish this spring.
Notre Dame has already lost one quarterback option this off-season. Gunner Kiel, one of the prized recruits of the Class of 2012, transferred to Cincinnati in search of more playing time. When asked if he would consider returning to Notre Dame — he would be eligible to play at Notre Dame in 2013 despite transferring — Kiel reaffirmed he is sticking with the Bearcats.
Kevin is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.