Whitfield denies report of Notre Dame QB Everett Golson's interest in LSU

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

If Monday is any indication of what’s to come, the location of Everett Golson’s next football season will be much discussed in the coming months. 

But until Notre Dame finishes spring football practice and the next academic semester ends, the rumors are likely to remain discussions without a conclusion.

LSU became the first rumored destination when the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Golson had reached out to the Tigers about a possible transfer following graduation in May. The report came less than a week after Golson helped Notre Dame defeat LSU 31-28 in the Music City Bowl.

Hours after the report surfaced, Golson dropped the following message on Twitter: “Don’t believe everything you hear.”

Golson’s indirect denial was backed up by George Whitfield Jr., a quarterback coach who worked with Golson during his suspension from Notre Dame in 2013. Whitfield told the Tribune via text that the report had “no truth in it,” and that Golson isn’t considering a transfer to any school.

Golson, a senior who enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2011, told Irish Illustrated last week that he would indeed be graduating in May, which aligned with the Times-Picayune report. Golson’s graduation would be the first crucial step in any potential transfer sought by the 6-foot, 200-pound signal caller. Upon graduation, Golson could enroll as a graduate student at a new school in 2015 and play this fall. If Golson wanted to transfer to another FBS school before graduation, his final year of football eligibility would expire while sitting out the 2015 season.

The finish of Notre Dame’s 2014 season brought uncertainty to Golson’s future as starting quarterback. He was benched in favor of sophomore quarterback Malik Zaire for the LSU game. The quarterbacks split time in the game, but Zaire took a majority of the reps and was named the game's MVP. Golson finished 6-of-11 passing for 90 yards with one rush for six yards. Zaire completed 12 of his 15 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 96 yards and one touchdown.

The two will enter spring practice in a full-fledged quarterback competition less than a year after Golson won the battle last August. A hot start to the 2014 season for Golson fizzled away with turnover issues and hit rock bottom when he was benched in the first half of a blowout loss to USC. He then served as a change-of-pace option to Zaire’s run-first offense against LSU. Golson finished the season 256-of-427 passing for 3,445 yards and 29 touchdowns. The negatives came in the form of 14 interceptions and eight fumbles lost.

Spring practice should illuminate the future of Notre Dame’s offense for both Golson and Zaire. Head coach Brian Kelly has tried to avoid using two quarterbacks while at Notre Dame, but the experiment proved successful against LSU. The momentum belongs to Zaire, who has a chance to grab the starting spot and take over the offense completely. However, the possibility remains that Golson could reclaim the starting spot or work into the mix as a time-share should he choose to stay.

When contacted by the Tribune on Monday, a Notre Dame spokesman had no comment on the Golson report and Kelly was not made available.

If the result of spring practice hints at a limited future at Notre Dame for Golson, he could choose to find a school that would allow him a chance to start. Any shot of Golson playing in the NFL would be seriously hindered by operating in a two-quarterback system next season. Finding a school with an immediate need for a starting quarterback would become the objective in a Golson transfer.

The quarterback situation at LSU remains unclear for 2015, but adding Golson might not be the most logical solution. First, as reported by the Times-Picayune, the Tigers would need a waiver from the SEC to allow the transfer because of Golson’s previous academic suspension. LSU did not offer Golson out of high school and his connections to the program through recruiting would be slim.

LSU sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings struggled as a starter in 2014, but freshman quarterback Brandon Harris was a heavily-recruited prospect and played in eight games this past season. He made his first and only start in a 41-7 loss at Auburn in October. Adding Golson to the mix could stunt the growth of both players.

The carousel of quarterback transfers across the country will hit full-swing in the coming months. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel announced Monday that he will play his fifth year at Lousiana Tech. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller has been rumored to have interest in transferring to a number of schools. The ride could also include Golson, but he has yet to claim a seat.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame’s Everett Golson (5) looks to pass during the Music City Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN