The Texas Longhorns seem poised to miss out on another graduate transfer quarterback in the near future with Tuesday’s news from Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports that former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire is “leaning towards” the Florida Gators.
However, as Feldman points out and has been common knowledge for some time now, Zaire’s decision will hinge on whether or not the SEC changes the conference rules on graduate transfers at meetings held in Destin, Florida this week.
Created in response to former Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli’s alleged lack of academic progress in Oxford back in 2010, the rule bans schools from accepting graduate transfers if players fail to meet academic requirements.
Florida took two graduate transfers in 2013 who failed to qualify, which resulted in a three-year ban on the Gators accepting such players.
It’s possible that other schools could block the rule change in an effort to keep Zaire from choosing Florida. Gators head coach Jim McElwain is already preparing for that possibility.
“Everyone will push their personal agenda if they can see it gaining an advantage,” McElwain said on Tuesday.
McElwain added that those putting their personal agenda ahead of the conference’s best interests should “check their card.”
“If it happens, it happens, and we’ll all move forward,” he said. “If we have rules in the SEC that are different than the rules we are playing against, I don’t know what we’re trying to prove.”
Unless the worst-case scenario happens for McElwain and the rule remains in place, Zaire will likely officially be a Gator by this time next week.
And the ‘Horns will have missed out on added quarterback depth once again.