Former Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire to take visit to North Carolina

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame may not have seen the last of Malik Zaire.

The 6-foot, 225-pound quarterback — who is pursuing a graduate transfer and has one season of eligibility remaining — will take a visit to North Carolina this week, his father, Imani Zaire, told ND Insider on Sunday night.

Notre Dame plays on the road at North Carolina on Oct. 7, 2017. The Irish did not put any restrictions on where Zaire can transfer, contrary to some previous reports.

Zaire's interest in North Carolina may hinge on the status of Tar Heel quarterback Mitch Trubisky. A 6-3, 220-pound junior, Trubisky has thrown for 3,468 yards with 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season, while completing 68.9 percent of his passes. He has also rushed for 270 yards and five scores.

Should Trubisky declare for the 2017 NFL Draft, North Carolina would be in need of a new starting quarterback — and an opportunity could arise for Zaire. Underclassmen have until Jan. 16 to decide.

North Carolina (8-4) will play Stanford in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30.

In 17 career games at Notre Dame, Zaire passed for 816 yards and six touchdowns without an interception and ran for 324 yards and two more scores.

The Kettering, Ohio, native was one of three Irish players to announce their intentions to transfer last week, joining wide receiver Corey Holmes and offensive lineman John Montelus. Zaire will graduate this month with a degree in film, television and theater and a minor in peace studies.

Zaire plans to enroll at the school of his choice for the spring semester.

“I just want, of course, to do what I wanted to do at Notre Dame, and that’s win a national championship,” Zaire told ND Insider last week. “For me, it’s finding the best fit where I can help bring the team something that I can add and help bring a national championship. I felt like I could do that at Notre Dame, and I still feel the same way.

“I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the country. This opportunity is good for me. I’ve got one shot to do it, and you only need one shot to do it. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire (9) waves as he exits the field following Notre Dame’s 45-27 loss to Southern Cal in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN