Incoming Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush shocked by Golson news

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

 A classmate delivered the news to Brandon Wimbush.

The two were sitting in class at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., when the classmate read on Twitter that senior quarterback Everett Golson planned to graduate from Notre Dame later this month and leave for another school.

“I was really shocked,” said Wimbush, the soon-to-be Irish freshman quarterback. “It gives me an opportunity, which I’m excited for, but I’m kind of disappointed that he left because I wanted to be able to learn under him.”

With a four-star rating and a reputation as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country for the 2015 recruiting class, Wimbush’s ascent into Notre Dame’s quarterback competition was likely to happen at some point early in his career. The timetable shifted Thursday with the news of Golson’s departure.

Junior Malik Zaire is in line to take over the starting role as his did in December’s Music City Bowl win over LSU. Wimbush will join redshirt freshmen DeShone Kizer and Montgomery VanGorder in competition for the backup role.

“I wanted to redshirt,” Wimbush said. “I had the mindset of coming in and redshirting and being able to learn and get acclimated for a year. With this, my mind changed immediately. My mindset really did change quickly as soon as I heard it.”

Wimbush, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound quarterback who led his team to a state championship as a senior, kept a close eye on the quarterback competition throughout the spring and attended the Blue-Gold Game in April.

“They were competing and in the spring game, I thought Malik had a great game,” Wimbush said. “Malik did his thing and so did Everett. They both moved the ball well. It was anybody’s job to get or lose.”

Wimbush ditched his Penn State commitment early in his senior season after Notre Dame hosted him on an official visit for its win over Stanford in October. He prevented the Irish from missing out on a quarterback in the 2015 class after losing Blake Barnett’s verbal commitment to Alabama last June.

Vaulting Zaire might not be in the picture for Wimbush’s freshman season, but his polished skill set could allow him to become the next option off the bench. He finished his senior season completing 192 of his 265 passes (72 percent) for 3,187 yards and 37 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He also rushed for 723 yards and nine more touchdowns.

In his final semester at St. Peter’s Prep, Wimbush has been running track in addition to working twice weekly with private quarterback coach Madei Williams, who spent time backing up Donovan McNabb at Syracuse in the ‘90s. The focus on speed during track season has shown with Wimbush reporting his fastest times of 10.8 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 22 seconds in the 200.

“I’m keeping myself busy, but as a quarterback I don’t want to be throwing too much,” Wimbush said. “I’m focused on footwork and more mental stuff.”

His arrival on campus June 12 is rapidly approaching and now brings higher stakes.

“You want to come in with a mindset of being able to compete, but reality tells you to redshirt,” Wimbush said. “With this situation, it changed my mind. I’m going to delve deeper into what I have to do to get myself prepared.”

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Brandon Wimbush (7) of St. Peter's Prep rushes the ball against Paramus Catholic during their NJSIAA Non-Public, Group 4 football final at MetLife Stadium. (Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media/NJ.com)