There’s still more than seven months until the season starts and Everett Golson hasn’t taken a live snap in over over a year after missing the entire 2013 season for academic reasons, but Notre Dame’s more than likely 2014 starting quarterback was listed on Bovada’s early Heisman odds last week at 25/1.
Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston is the odds on favorite heading into the off-season at 2/1, but the inclusion of Golson, is interesting considering Golson hasn’t played in over a year. Bovada only listed 17 players in their first odds of the season with Golson joining one of 11 other quarterbacks on the list.
Golson was readmitted to Notre Dame last month after being kicked out of school for the fall semester due to academic reasons that Golson eventually admitted to being related to cheating. Expectations are high for Golson and the 2014 Notre Dame offense on the field while expectations for Golson off the field will be even higher. Golson has to work himself back into playing shape after missing the season, but also has to work himself back into shape in the classroom where he will likely be paid extra attention to.
On the field, it makes sense that Golson would draw some buzz from the media. With an explosive set of wide receivers and a stable of talented running backs set to return in 2014, the Notre Dame offense has the potential to be the best offense we’ve seen under the watch of Brian Kelly. That offense will be guided by Golson and if it reaches its potential and starts resembling Kelly’s Cincinnati offenses, Heisman buzz will only continue to build for the quarterback engineering it.
Golson’s work with renowned quarterback guru George Whitefield this off-season should help him ease back into playing shape and have better command of the offense than he had in 2012. As a sophomore two years ago, Golson had his ups and downs as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish. He did show marked improvement throughout the season and was one of the few bright spots for Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship against Alabama.
For Everett Golson to legitimize any Heisman hype, he is going to need to show even more improvement in 2014 and the Notre Dame offense will need to start scoring 40 points a game on a regular basis. Last year Notre Dame scored over 40 points just once. In 2012 Notre Dame eclipsed 40 points only two times. Reigning national champion Florida State scored 40 or more points in all but two of their games in 2013. They even scored 50 or more points in seven games. Golson is going to have to guide Notre Dame to more 40+ point efforts than the Irish have had the past two seasons combined to even be in consideration during the regular season.
Winston and teammate Karlos Williams (RB) are the only 2014 Notre Dame opponents listed on Bovada’s early list. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, a 2013 opponent, is also listed at 12/1. With the Spartans not on the schedule for the first time since 1996 though, the Irish won’t have to face him again in 2014. Cook was just 16 of 32 for 145 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame in September when the Irish handed the Spartans what would be their only loss of the season.
Of course all of this Heisman talk is completely premature considering Golson hasn’t played in a year and the Notre Dame offense has yet to show in four years under Brian Kelly to have the kind of fire power necessary to fuel a Heisman run by its quarterback, but the long off-season still in it’s infancy and more than seven months between us and meaningful football, it’s fun to think about.