In an announcement that was not much of a surprise, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday that Everett Golson will be the Irish’s starting quarterback when the season opens up against Rice on August 30.
Golson, a redshirt junior who led the Irish to a national championship game appearance in 2012, edged out redshirt freshman Malik Zaire. Kelly, who made it clear that he will not employ a two-quarterback system, said he reached a decision Tuesday night.
“Everett is the starter for Rice and we hope he’s the starter for the entire year,” Kelly said, via IrishIllustrated.com. “We’re all in this in a merit-based kind of situation. We’ve gotta win. Everett knows that.”
After throwing for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012, Golson did not play in 2013 after he was suspended from the university due to an academic violation. Golson admitted that he cheated on a test, but long maintained that he would return to Notre Dame once his suspension ended. He did just that in December.
When Golson was brought back to the team, Kelly said that Golson would have to compete with Zaire to regain the starting role and Zaire was confident that he could supplant Golson as the team’s No. 1 quarterback. Ultimately, however, Golson ended up being the better option.
Predictably, Zaire wasn’t pleased, but Kelly was happy with his reaction.
#NotreDame HC Brian Kelly: “I got the right answer from Malik. He wasn’t happy. If he gave me a hug, I’d be very disappointed.”— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) August 13, 2014
Golson said the competition was close and had nothing but praise for Zaire.
“It was very, very tight I would say and it was a close competition,” Golson on QB battle— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) August 13, 2014
“Malik is a tremendous quarterback. I think when he does get on the field, he’s gonna shine.” Golson on Zaire— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) August 13, 2014
In his time away from South Bend, the 6-foot, 200-pound Golson spent time working on his game with quarterback coach George Whitfield Jr. in San Diego.
For more Notre Dame news, visit IrishIllustrated.com.
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