After Malik Zaire led Notre Dame to a win over LSU in the 2014 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that the Everett Golson era would be coming to an end in South Bend, Ind. On Thursday, Golson made what was expected to be coming official. He informed Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly of his intentions and followed that up by releasing the following statement:
“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 effective immediately. 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 further 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!”
At one point in time, Golson was widely viewed as a potential savior for the tradition-rich Notre Dame football program. In 2012, he led the Irish to the BCS National Title Game against Alabama, but was forced to leave school in 2013 due to an academic suspension. He never really regained solid footing with the Irish, but his rare combination speed, agility, and arm strength are sure to attract attention from some of the biggest programs in the country that are in need of a starting quarterback for the 2015 season. With that being said, here is a look at the top five landing spots for Golson to finish his college career.
1. Florida State
The Noles have serious question marks at the quarterback position heading into the 2015 season. The player who is projected to start, Sean Maguire, has one career start, and has yet to show that he can be the type of player that Florida State needs to compete for a national title. Golson is a completely different type of player than 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, but the idea of playing under quarterback guru Jimbo Fisher has to be enticing. If the Noles can land Golson, expect to see them in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff in 2015.
2. South Carolina
This would be a homecoming of sorts for Golson, who played his high school ball at nearby Myrtle Beach High School. The Gamecocks also happen to have an unsettled situation at quarterback, and Golson would be a great fit in Steve Spurrier’s offense. This situation makes a lot of sense for everybody involved.
Simply put, Golson would be a huge upgrade over Tyrone Swoopes or Jerrod Heard and would give the Longhorns a better chance at winning in the immediate future. Golson’s presence would give the position some veteran leadership and also give Swoopes and Heard an established player to learn from. If Charlie Strong can sell Golson on finishing his career in Austin, the Longhorns could be contenders in the Big 12 in 2015. Oh yeah, Texas opens its season against Notre Dame.
Golson has been linked to LSU since early January. The Tigers are talented enough to make a national title run in 2015, but lack an established starter at the most important position on the field. If Les Miles can convince Golson to finish his career in Baton Rouge, LSU could have one of the most explosive offenses in the country this year. They already have running back Leonard Fournette along with wide receivers Malachi Dupree and Travis Dural in place, which would make Golson’s transition in their offense much easier. The situation at LSU may be the best overall fit for Golson to finish his collegiate career if he wants to compete for a championship.
The Gators may be more of a longshot to land Golson than any of the other teams on this list, but they still shouldn’t be ruled out. New head coach Jim McElwain didn’t recruit either Treon Harris or Will Grier, the two players competing to be Florida’s starting quarterbacks for the upcoming season, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him make a run at a veteran signal caller like Golson. Scheme-wise this is a fit, but Golson would likely have to fend off two up-and-comers to win the job.