After the announcement that former LSU Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris is headed to the North Carolina Tar Heels following a weekend visit, the Texas Longhorns reportedly reached out to former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire, according to Horns Digest.
The graduate transfer becomes the newest target of head coach Tom Herman, who is seeking quarterback depth after redshirt sophomore Matthew Merrick retired from football last week to focus on his academics.
A former starter in South Bend, Zaire torched the ‘Horns with a 19-of-22 performance through the air to rack up 313 yards and three touchdowns in the 2015 season-opening blowout that ended Shawn Watson’s play-calling career at Texas.
Zaire then suffered a season-ending injury in the next game against Virginia and ultimately lost his job to DeShone Kizer. And though he split time with Kizer in last season’s opener, the double-overtime victory by the Longhorns in Austin, Zaire played sparingly during the rest of his junior season.
In the months since announcing his intention to become a graduate transfer, he’s placed UNC and Wisconsin under consideration, but indefinitely postponed a decision that was planned for December 20.
With Baylor reportedly getting into the mix at that time and UNC no longer an option, Wisconsin may be the leader for Zaire after he considered the school during his original recruitment. However, it’s not clear what is holding up his decision.
And both of those schools have incumbent starters, though Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook was hardly impressive last season in throwing eight touchdowns and seven interceptions — that situation is probably more appealing for Zaire than transferring to Texas, where Shane Buechele experienced a much greater level of success.
A 6’0, 225-pounder, Zaire was a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the 247Sports Composite rankings as a member of the 2013 recruiting class.
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