It’s finally official: Malik Zaire is a Florida Gator.
The former Notre Dame quarterback announced he planned to pursue a graduate transfer all the way back in November. And after a long recruiting process that included an SEC rule change, Florida sent out a press release Monday saying Zaire has enrolled in the university’s mass communications graduate program.
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As a graduate transfer, Zaire is eligible to suit up for the Gators this fall. He will enter a competition to start alongside redshirt junior Luke Del Rio and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks. Del Rio threw for 1,358 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 56.7 percent of his passes in 2016. Franks, a highly-touted recruit in the 2016 class, redshirted his first season on campus.
Zaire made only three starts during his time at Notre Dame. A lefty out of Kettering, Ohio, Zaire threw for 816 yards and six touchdowns while adding 324 yards and two scores on the ground for the Irish. He started in place of Everett Golson in the 2014 Music City Bowl and was named MVP for helping Notre Dame knock off LSU.
Zaire entered the 2015 season as the starter but broke his ankle in Week 2, missing the rest of the season. In his absence, recent NFL draftee DeShone Kizer assumed the starting role. The two competed to start entering 2016 and split time early in the year before Kizer eventually took on the role full-time once again.
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After the season, Zaire decided to transfer and took quite a few visits. Florida was rumored to be in the discussion all the while, but an SEC rule on graduate transfers looked like it would block Zaire’s path to Gainesville. The SEC has academic requirements for graduate transfers that were not met by two players who made the move to Florida in 2015. Because of that, Florida (and any other SEC program that did not meet APR requirements) was not allowed to enroll graduate transfers for three years.
However, that term dropped from three years to one year following an SEC vote earlier this month. That change opened the door for Zaire to transfer to Florida.
In addition to Zaire, Florida also announced the addition of ex-Clemson offensive lineman Jake Fruhmorgen on Monday. Fruhmorgen, a junior, started a combined nine games over the last two seasons for the Tigers. Fruhmorgen, a four-star recruit in the 2015 class, will sit out the 2017 season before having two seasons of eligibility at Florida.
— Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) June 26, 2017
Florida opens its season Sept. 2 against Michigan in Arlington, Texas.
For more Florida news, visit InsideTheGators.com.
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