Even though Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said repeatedly during the spring that senior quarterback Everett Golson would return to South Bend this fall, the former starter will transfer and play his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
"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," Golson said in a prepared statement. "To all the Fighting Irish fans I want to thank you for the 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."
With Ohio State's Braxton Miller unlikely to follow Golson in transferring and numerous other graduate transfer quarterbacks off the market, the 6'0, 200-pounder is now the marquee quarterback available for immediate eligibility on a one-year rental.
There's already a report that Golson is interested in spending his final season of eligibility playing in the SEC:
247Sports spoke to sources close to Everett Golson that indicated the Notre Dame transfer is most likely to end up at South Carolina or Georgia. The source said that Golson wants to play his final year of eligibilty close to home, as Golson hails from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
However, Golson would have to receive a waiver from the SEC in order to transfer into the conference and he doesn't meet one of the seven criteria necessary to do so. Due to Golson's suspension from Notre Dame in 2013 due to "poor academic judgement," he's not likely to receive that waiver.
So he will likely have to look elsewhere and Texas could be a potential destination. Early in the offseason, there was plenty of discussion about adding a graduate transfer because of the overall lack of depth and poor performance of junior Tyrone Swoopes during the final two 2014 contests.
Does head coach Charlie Strong want to add a graduate transfer quarterback? When asked about it after the Orange-White game, he was a little bit evasive.
"Well, just no one has ever approached us with that, because what it is, you don't know really what's out there and who's still out there right now when you talk about a graduate at quarterback," he said. "Because if someone is interested, they'll get in touch with us, but you just don't know what's out there."
During a media availability during the spring game, assistant head coach for the offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson fielded a similar question.
"It's less of a need," said Watson. "We don't really have those types of talk right now because of the way those guys have performed. I'm a humble guy. I've learned in this profession -- it's a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month process."
The final comment seemingly leaves some room for the Texas coaches to re-evaluate the situation, so there could be some interest in Golson if he reaches out to the Longhorns through an intermediary, typically an adviser or high school coach.
If Golson wants to compete for a conference championship, Austin isn't a great destination for him, as the Longhorns will be lucky to finish third in the Big 12 behind Baylor and TCU this season.
There is a need for more depth, however, as most coaches prefer four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster at a given time and the Horns will only have three with the addition of 2015 signee Kai Locksley this summer.
The final questions are whether Golson would fit in the new HUNH/spread offense and whether he's an upgrade over the available options. On the first count, Golson has the running ability to play as a true dual threat -- he's scored 14 rushing touchdowns in his career and gained 50 or more yards rushing in six games. On the second, it's questionable because he's thrown 20 interceptions and fumbled the ball 20 times in only 25 career starts, a remarkably high turnover rate. However, he also managed to lead Notre Dame to the national championship game in 2012, so he does have some upside.
The Texas coaches are on record as wanting competition, so if there's interest from Golson, the Longhorns should pursue the Fighting Irish transfer. And it's hard to deny that the storyline of Golson returning to South Bend in burnt orange for the 2015 opener is an appealing one.