Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer Entering NFL Draft

Deshone Kizer - Notre Dame QB
Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Following this weekend’s annual Echoes Awards, Deshone Kizer said he had not made his NFL decision yet, but was close.  Turns out he only need a couple more days.  On Monday, Kizer announced that he will forgo his senior season at Notre Dame and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

Kizer announced his decision to enter the draft through his Twitter account.

Kizer’s decision does not come as much of a surprise although almost every NFL Draft analyst has said that Kizer should come back for his senior season.  The 2017 NFL Draft, however, has a major shortage of elite quarterbacks which could allow Kizer to maximize his draft potential even though he has a lot of room for improvement.

While those same analysts have said Kizer would greatly benefit from another season in college, they almost all agree he will be a high pick based on tools and potential alone.  There are plenty of quarterback needy teams who will be drafting high this year and not a lot of options for them outside of Kizer and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.

Ever since his eye popping season opening performance over Texas, the hype around Kizer began to build.  Unsteady performances and a 4-8 record from Notre Dame didn’t do too much to derail the hype either.  Kizer finished the 2016 season with 26 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.  He had just four games with more than two touchdown passes, however and he had zero passing scores in losses to NC State and Stanford resulting in a brief benching.

Kizer’s big arm and running ability – he added 8 rushing touchdowns this past season – still make him an attractive NFL prospect and almost certain 1st round selection.

On Friday night, Kizer was named one of seven captains for Notre Dame in 2017 in a surprising early announcement from Brian Kelly.  Three days later Notre Dame is down to six captains.

Notre Dame’s Quarterback Depth Takes a Hit

With Kizer’s departure, the Brandon Wimbush Era at Notre Dame officially begins.  Behind Wimbush though, Notre Dame will have very little depth in 2017.  Ian Book red-shirted in 2016 and will get the first crack at backing up Wimbush.  Incoming freshman Avery Davis will have every opportunity to assume that back up role in camp.

Notre Dame also lost Malik Zaire to graduate transfer following the season.  The two quarterbacks who headlined last summer’s most high profile quarterback derby will both be playing else where in 2017.

Wimbush red-shirted this past season as well after being forced into early action in 2015 as Kizer’s backup.  He has three years of eligibility remaining and will have the benefit of spending the entire off-season knowing his is the starter without the worry of any looming quarterback battle.

Other NFL Decisions Remain

Notre Dame is still awaiting the NFL decisions for Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson.  While McGlinchey said several times throughout the season he plans on returning, his name was one of four submitted for a NFL evaluation at the end of the season along with Nelson, Kizer, and Nyles Morgan.

Over the weekend Nyles Morgan said that he was definitely returning while Nelson was non-committal. Most observers around the program, however, feel as though Nelson and McGlinchey will both return.  Should they return, Notre Dame will have all five starting offensive linemen back to protect their new starting quarterback.

Like Kizer, Nelson, McGlinchey, and Morgan were all named captains for the 2017 season as well.  If things don’t go as planned here for Notre Dame, they could be looking for some more captains this off-season.

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  1. Bye-bye Kizer, for what you and Kelly did to Zaire, I will never root for you. That parting video, like you are the second coming, what an ego. Take your FAT ass outta here.

    1. Yeah Kizer… take your fat ass along with your 992 career rushing yards, 3.8 yards per carry average, second most single game rushing yards by a ND- QB (143) and most ever single season rushing TD’s by a ND Quarterback (10) outta here!

      I’ll never root for you as our QB again!

  2. hope he goes to a great situation. he could have come back to ND for more development, but I think he will develop better at this point in the pros!

  3. Do not agree he has NFL ability considering his performance in 2016. The poor season was just not on Kelly -I was frustrated time and again by his lack of accuracy in some easy passes (HS type) – his lack of quick release in combination with lack of “body” quickness overall is notable.

    1. How would you not want to go out and rip someone’s head off when Lou says “And save Jimmy Johnson’s a** for me!!!!”

      Lou F’n Holtz!!!

      1. Yes, but at the same moment Lou was uttering vulgarities in the ND locker room, Miami was in prayer with a Catholic priest. What a laughable parallel the documentary attempted to draw.

  4. I am incredibly happy there will be NO QB controversy and there is a clear starter that the team can start building around starting right now!!!!!!!

    This is very exciting! Lets all get behind Wimbush/Kelly and start kicking a** again!!! Go IRISH!!!!!!

  5. The QB is departed.
    Long live the QB.

    I am nonplussed by the retro analysis of Kizer 2015/2016 and the incessant, boring ESPNism of whether he ought have left or stayed.

    Wimbush is the next man up. He is marvelously talented. And he has one attribute that NO Notre Dame quarterback EVER can claim, not Carideo, not Lujack. not Hornung, not Hanratty, not Clements.

    Brandon Wimbush has been tutored for two years as the pupil of Mike Sanford.

    Sanford and Wimbush will probably have nine returning starters on the offense, and significant depth at the skill positions. Hi Alize! Take that boot off, Javon!

    I find it vapid and feckless, and completely out of step with the studied and verified success patterns of successful organizations to engage in hypothetical discussions (“what if” is the bête noir of emotional midgets) of what would have happened if either Zaire or Kizer or both had remained.

    The staff and Wimbush will have no rear view mirror. Great Notre Dame fans will have no rear view mirror.

    Come on down, Brandon! You’ve prepared for this for two years. Seize the day!!

    1. Regardless of whether Sanford is still even here next Spring, Wimbush hopefully gained from Sanford.

      Kizer’s decision is really a no-brainer. If he’d have returned and had a great year, would have his draftability been much higher? Could he or any QB in college football take the 2017 version of ND to the playoffs? So why stay? To lead them to maybe nine wins? Opportunity cost, a basic economic and decision-making tenet, says, ‘Is the risk worth the investment?” For Kizer, it’s obvious. Returning to a 4-8 team with far more questions than answers, or move on to the pros? I’d have been disappointed in Kizer and his family had they decided to stay. Golson left because it was Zaire’s turn. Maybe Zaire left because, like Golson, Brian Kelly didn’t seem to have the answers. Kizer left because it’s now Wimbush’s turn.
      Soon he will join the many former ND players who star in the NFL; here’s hoping he’s one of them.

      What we badly need come 2017 is a better offense, a better defense, better special teams, fewer chunk plays against ND, better blocking, more sacks and pressure against the other teams’ QBs, a DL that wins the LOS but, other than that, things are looking hopeful!

    2. Duranko….i take a bit of an exception with your analysis. You stated “its completely out of step with the studied and verified success patterns of successful organizations to engage in hypotheticals. I find that ND football has not had a “pattern of success” nor do i think they have been a “successful organization” in the office and on the field. Against the top competition ; against Top 10 teams the track record isn’t very good. There is plenty of blame to go around. Is it coaching ?… it recruiting ?… it academics?…is it the players ?….there appears to me to be a breakdown in many areas of the program. Any of which have contributed to what we have today. This is not the hallmarks of a successful organization. Call me vapid and feckless but i don’t see what you have described. Sorry for the donny downer outlook. I’m just being realistic. Wimbush has zero experience…and your last paragraph proves my point…..ND needs better offense, better defense, better special teams,fewer chunk plays,better blocking, more sacks and pressure, better D line. In other words ND football needs ALOT
      and MORE to be a well….shall we say…….ummmm……a successful organization ?

      1. Please pardom me duranko…..i attributed my last paragraph to you….my mistake..i took the last paragraph from michael the archangel… theory still applies i just did not attribute it to the correct poster.

      2. well, miles, I am very clear on this. Organizations and enterprises that have suboptimized do not move forward by refreshing and renewing past errors.

        One positive nugget in the Kelly era has been the “next man in” philosophy, which was exemplified when Zaire and Folston went down so early in 2015, and their replacements neither blinked nor failed.

        My point was that when one hosts the wailing parties about what would have happened had either Kizer or Zaire or both remained, the one preparing the invitation list may, to use the Goldwynism “include me out.”

        It is America, folks are free to engage in vapid and feckless discussions: ergo, the internet. But they will do so with out my participation.

        But it’s not merely true of football organisms (including fans). It’s true of all enterprises, and often provides a demarcation line between success and failure

    3. Duranko,

      I’m afraid I lost faith in BK to develop QB’s. Every year since EG started we were told, now, now BK finally has his QB and the offense can flourish. And we’ve seen QB after QB flame out under BK at the end of the day. I’d love to think that Wimbush will flourish, but I’ve lost all faith that this will occur, and that Wimbush will just be left to sway in the wind.

      It’s sad because I do believe EG, Zaire and Kizer could have been great QB’s at ND. Now you can quote stats and say individually they put up this amount of yards and so forth. But that just doesn’t hold a lot of meaning because they didn’t beat Alabama in the NC game, they didn’t beat Ohio State last year. And this year they went 4-8 with a team of players that had no business having a losing season.

      So I’m sorry I can’t share your predictions for next year. As a fan, I hope I’m wrong and they somehow they turn things around. But I just don’t believe that will happen under BK anymore. At this point, I don’t think it’s too much for the fans to ask BK to put up or shut up.

  6. Ray, you’re right. Malik had the chemistry and more suited for college ball. He always played balls out! Rice and McDougall, great in college game. Kizer will be the next Mirer picked #2 after Watson and Mirer was a flop as a Pro.

  7. Had Kizer stayed for his senior year there would not have been a quarterback controversy. No that he’s heading to the NFL we can count on another spring quarterback controversy. It’s not just Spring at Notre Dame without one.

    As for Kizer, you have to grab the brass ring when it goes by. I cannot blame him for his decision.

    Good luck DeShone and Go Irish!!!!!

  8. Smart move on Kizer’s decision to enter the NFL draft. He probably needs another year in college to work on his skills BUT playing another year under BK would ruin him. Now BK will have another excuse for why the team goes 6-6 next year. Well were breaking in a new QB this year and thats tough.

    1. Wrong. Kelly I am sure never told him it was ok to throw into coverage or force a pass. He did that on his own. He may turn out to be a decent NFL QB but he should not have beaten out Malik who was way more suited for the college game. Good riddance and way to want to prove yourself after 4-8. He has the honor of having the worst record as starting QB in a long, long time.

  9. No real surprise. I just hope Wimbush is up to the task. He comes highly rated, but unfortunately, BK has a habit of ruining QB’s. It’s hard to rate him at this point because he has played little more than garbage time up to know. But there shouldn’t be any QB question marks going into the spring, barring something unforeseen like an injury, or academic suspension (who can tell).

    I also see Charlie Strong is off the market now, taking the head coaching job at USF. It was a long shot, but I had hoped they could pick him up as a DC.

    1. There will be plenty of question marks about the QB situation heading into Spring. The most significant will be the lack of experience. To bad Zaire already made his decision.

      1. I should have said controversy. Yes there will be lots of questions. I just meant that Wimbush will be the starter.

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