Notre Dame QB Everett Golson expected to transfer

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame's quarterback competition never reached the fall.

Senior quarterback Everett Golson is expected to transfer and play his final season of eligibility at another school, ESPN and Fox Sports first reported.

"After much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to graduate from Notre Dame and transfer to another school effectively immediately," Golson said in a statement to Fox Sports. "I would like to thank everyone at Notre Dame for the opportunity to compete at the highest level of college football, but most importantly to obtain my degree from one of the finest universities in the country. To all the Fighting Irish fans, I want to thank you for your support over the past four years and let you know I truly love Notre Dame. To my former teammates, who I will miss tremendously, I wish much success in the future and will be your biggest fan from afar.

"I will have no future comment at this time and ask that you respect my time as I figure out this (life) changing moment. God has a plan for each of us and I ask for your prayers as I move forward in this new journey in my life."

A 6-foot, 200-pound quarterback from Myrtle Beach, S.C., Golson started 23 games at Notre Dame, passing for 5,850 yards and 41 touchdowns. He led the Irish to a 12-0 start and a berth in the National Championship Game in 2012, before missing the entire 2013 season after leaving the school because of an academic suspension.

Last season, Golson started 11 games and passed for 3,445 yards with 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was benched in favor of sophomore quarterback Malik Zaire in the team's Music City Bowl victory over LSU.

“I’d like to thank Everett Golson for all he did as a member of our football program," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "He had many significant achievements, including helping us to an undefeated regular season and berth into the national title game. But his most important accomplishment is completing his course work toward a degree from the University of Notre Dame. I wish him all the best moving forward.

 “We, of course, have approached our preparations for the upcoming season with this possibility in mind. The emergence of Malik Zaire, based on his performance in the Music City Bowl win over LSU, and throughout spring practice, has given our staff supreme confidence that he can lead our team to great success in 2015.”

When asked during the spring about Golson, who declined to speak with media throughout the team's 15 spring practices, Kelly emphasized his belief that the graduate student would remain with the team in 2015.

"I couldn't tell you for certain," Kelly said. "He's fully engaged in everything that he's doing. It's the best that I've seen him do the things that we've asked him to do since he's been here."

Kelly later added: "I expect him to be here and help us win games in the fall."

Golson threw for 11,634 yards and 151 touchdown passes in his prep career at Myrtle Beach High School, leading his team to a 44-5 overall record and a Class AAA state championship in 2010.

Starting with Zack Kustok in 1997, 20 scholarship quarterbacks have matriculated to Notre Dame since the end of the Lou Holtz Era who have no remaining college eligibility. Of those 20, one left school early (Jimmy Clausen) and 17 others either switched positions, transferred or both. Brady Quinn, Evan Sharpley and Tommy Rees are the three exceptions.

Golson is the latest in the transfer trend.

Zaire, a 6-foot junior who has started just one game in his Irish career, will likely start at quarterback next season. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, while running for 96 yards and another score on 22 carries en route to being named MVP of Notre Dame's 31-28 Music City Bowl victory over LSU.

Besides Zaire, Notre Dame has just two other quarterbacks currently on its roster: DeShone Kizer and Montgomery VanGorder. A 6-5, 230-pound sophomore, Kizer did not see any game action last season while serving as the team's third-string quarterback. Coming out of Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio, in 2014, he was ranked as the No. 40 overall player in his signing class by CBS Sports' Tom Lemming. He threw for 2,847 yards and 30 touchdowns with just six interceptions in his senior season, while adding another 539 rushing yards and six scores.

VanGorder, the son of Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, is a 6-foot, 215-pound sophomore who was a two-year letter-winner at Buford High School in Buford, Ga.

It seems, though, that help is on the way.

That comes in the form of four-star incoming freshman quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who will arrive on campus in June. The 6-2, 212-pound signal caller from Hackensack, N.J., threw for 3,187 yards with 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his senior season at St. Peter's Prep in 2014.

Given the Golson news, Wimbush may compete immediately for a back up role this fall.

"He has an incredible presence and a leadership presence about him where he makes others around him better," Kelly said of Wimbush when he signed in February. "He lights up the room. He's a thermometer guy. The temperature in the room rises when he's in it because he has such a great presence about him.

"He's got a great skill set. I love his footwork. What we liked early on when we watched him, it changed in his senior year. He became more disciplined at everything he did. His coaching staff did a great job of really working on his footwork. He's got a strong arm. He's a great runner he's a dual threat.

"He possesses all the tools to run the offense at its highest level, so (he's) just a special player."

Damn, it was fun bro.. Good luck where ever you end up I know you'll kill it. @Everett_Golson5

— Will Fuller V (@Will_Fuller7) May 7, 2015//

Best of luck to my brother @Everett_Golson5 ! It's been real! Love you bro! ✊ ✊ ✊

— Jarron Jones™ (@Who_GotJones94) May 7, 2015//

#5 will be successful no matter where he goes. Someone is going to get a really good qb #watchandsee

— theo riddick (@Riddick6) May 7, 2015//

Notre Dame’s Everett Golson (5) still projects as a draftable prospect in 2016. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)