Five potential landing spots for Notre Dame QB Everett Golson

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

As of Thursday afternoon, there is only one school that can be confidently ruled out as a potential landing spot for graduate student quarterback Everett Golson:

Notre Dame.

Golson, who announced on Thursday that he plans to transfer and use his final season of eligibility elsewhere, passed for 5,850 yards and 41 touchdowns with 20 interceptions in his 25 games in South Bend, while making 23 starts.

So, who are the preliminary favorites in the Golson Sweepstakes?

Let the speculation begin.

1. Florida. On paper, it all makes sense. The Gators currently have just three scholarship quarterbacks on their roster: Will Grier, Treon Harris and Skyler Mornhinweg. Last season, while splitting time with Jeff Driskel, Harris completed just 49.5 percent of his passes for 1,019 yards, averaging 113.2 passing yards per game. The perception heading out of spring is that Grier – a 6-foot-2, 197-pound redshirt freshman that was named the Parade National Player of the Year following his senior season at Davidson Day High School in 2013 – is the leader to start for the Gators in the fall.

But with Golson in the mix, that could quickly change.

First-year Florida head coach Jim McElwain has a history of developing quarterbacks, with Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson being his latest product. Golson could also conceivably fit in McElwain’s pro-style offense.

The hang-up, in this case, might not be with Florida.

SEC bylaw 14.1.15.1 (d.), which states that a graduate student transfer cannot have been subject to disciplinary action at his prior university, may stop Golson from transferring to any SEC school. To bypass this particular ruling, the school would need to receive a waiver from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive that allows Golson to enroll.

SEC bylaw 14.1.15.1 (d) could potentially prevent #NotreDame QB Everett Golson's transfer to an SEC school. pic.twitter.com/UNjdQ39UgH

— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) May 7, 2015//

Even so, don’t expect any SEC powers – including Florida, as well as the schools listed below – to refrain from courting Golson just because of a little fine print.

2. Georgia. Georgia and Florida have more in common than their region or conference affiliation. The Bulldogs, too, enter the summer without a proven starter at quarterback.

In fact, no current Georgia signal caller has made a start on the collegiate level. Redshirt sophomore Brice Ramsey seems to be the most eligible candidate, having completed 24 of 39 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns in eight mop-up appearances last season. His biggest competitor is likely 6-3, 215-pound junior Faton Bauta.

Or Golson?

If Golson is looking for a major program with a proud tradition and a void at quarterback where he could potentially win big next season, Georgia might be a match.

3. South Carolina. Who doesn’t love a good homecoming?

Golson – a native of Myrtle Beach – could conceivably play his final season in Columbia, S.C., which is roughly a two-and-a-half hour drive from his hometown. Though the Gamecocks didn’t recruit the prep sensation with much gusto out of high school, Steve Spurrier has a somewhat unsettled quarterback stable as well as a penchant for rolling the dice.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Connor Mitch grabbed hold of the starting job after an impressive spring, but the fact remains that he has attempted just six passes in a brief Gamecock career.

Likewise, South Carolina’s other two quarterbacks, Perry Orth and Michael Scarnecchia, have yet to complete a pass.

Golson threw for 151 touchdowns and won a state championship in a memorable prep career at Myrtle Beach High School.

Maybe, he can recapture that magic in his home state.

4. LSU. The rumors have been swirling in Baton Rouge since January.

That’s when, according to a report by the Times-Picayune, Golson reached out to LSU to gauge interest in a potential transfer. But now that his departure has been confirmed, does a trip to the bayou really make sense?

Both LSU quarterbacks that played last season – Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris – return in 2015. Jennings passed for 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns, while completing just 48.9 percent of his passes. Harris, a much more intriguing prospect, threw six touchdown passes in limited time and still has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

In the astronomical statistic department, LSU also has a whopping eight quarterbacks on its roster.

Of course, Les Miles will happily make room for Golson if he believes the 6-foot, 200-pound quarterback can help the Tigers win a national championship.

Given that Golson committed 22 turnovers last season, however, he may not be the man for the job.

5. Texas. They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s certainly true of the Longhorns’ gaping hole at quarterback.

After then-sophomore Tyrone Swoopes passed for just 57 yards and an interception in Texas’ 31-7 loss to Arkansas in last season’s Texas Bowl, assistant head coach Shawn Watson had this to say about the Longhorns’ quarterback situation:

"We need experience. We need competition in the room. We need somebody who's been out there in the room that understands it,” Watson said, according to Anwar Richardson, who covers Texas for OrangeBloods.com and Rivals.

"Right now, we got two quarterbacks. That's what we have to work with. Like I said, as long as a guy is a willing soul that wants to keep working at it, and he's in the mix. We have no one else right now. That's just kind of where we're at. Ty's been a willing soul, and he's worked. He'll continue to work hard at it. I think he needs competition. We'll see how things work out for him and our team in the future. You need competition in our room. We've had the hand dealt us this year. Now we have to make our mark on it."

Does that sound like a coach that is satisfied with what he has? It seems that little has changed in the offseason, as both Swoopes and freshman Jerrod Heard failed to throw a passing touchdown in the Longhorns’ spring game.

Strong certainly has a track record of advancing quarterbacks to the NFL, as he did with Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville.

The road block, in this case, is that Notre Dame has the power to block Golson’s release, depending on the school he chooses. And it would be reasonable to assume that Brian Kelly does not want to see Golson standing on the opposite sideline inside Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 5.

Also in the mix:Washington, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Houston, UCLA

mvorel@ndinsider.com

574-235-6428

Twitter: @mikevorel

Quarterback Everett Golson started ND's 12 regular season games this year but Malik Zaire won the job for Tuesday's Music City Bowl. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)