No End in Sight to Everett Golson Transfer Speculation

Photo: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire

Senior quarterback Everett Golson has had an unorthodox career trajectory at Notre Dame. Originally a North Carolina verbal commitment, Golson flipped his pledge to Notre Dame and enrolled early after an academic scandal began to unfold in Chapel Hill under the leadership of then-head coach Butch Davis. After leading Notre Dame to a national championship appearance in the Fighting Irish’s first undefeated regular season in decades, Golson would become embroiled in his own academic scandal which would ultimately force him off the team. The Myrtle Beach (S.C.) native avoided the path of least resistance and re-enrolled rather than transfer to another program, only to lead Notre Dame to a turnover plagued season that ended with talented backup quarterback Malik Zaire starting and earning MVP honors against LSU in the Music City Bowl.

Despite Everett Golson being widely reported as in the lead in this spring’s quarterback competition against Malik Zaire, rumors have continued to persist that Golson is a transfer risk, causing apprehension amongst Irish fans. And Irish fans should be concerned – there are more reasons for Golson to leave than stay.

Golson used his time away from Notre Dame in the most productive way possible by working with quarterback guru George Whitfield on his mechanics and the way he grips a football. What was most telling about his experience with Whitfield, however, was when Golson was asked how he was paying for such tutelage.

“At this point, I don’t know if it’s politically correct to say it like this, but it’s a business decision for me,” Golson said to sportswriter Bruce Feldman. “I’m hoping that it’ll pay off in the future.”

Like nearly every college athlete that straps on a helmet on Saturdays during the fall, Golson’s dream is to play in the NFL, and he believed in that dream enough to imply he paid a quarterback coach thousands of dollars out-of-pocket in order to invest in that dream. And submitting to a quarterback competition when you only have one last chance to impress NFL scouts isn’t exactly the best way to protect an investment.

Throwing 14 interceptions and fumbling the football 12 times throughout the 2014 season afforded Malik Zaire an opportunity to prove himself after two years of waiting, and Zaire made the absolute most of it, showcasing to the staff and fan base he possesses an impressive skill set. Golson may currently lead his head-to-head showdown with Zaire but for how long? Will Kelly pull Golson when he creates a turnover? How about after two, or possibly three? Or simply run a two quarterback system? While it is likely a conversation involving such scenarios will take place between Golson and Kelly, why should Golson stay and gamble with his future when the option to leave for a less crowded location and play immediately is available?

Initial rumors connected Golson to LSU, a destination that makes sense given the inconsistent quarterback play in Baton Rouge. Soon-to-be junior Anthony Jennings was completing less than 50-percent of his passing attempts and averaging only 165 yards passing per contest last season. Rising sophomore Brandon Harris – though a talented former 4-star recruit – only mustered a 21-percent completion rate for 58 yards in LSU’s defeat at the hands of Auburn this past fall. With likely Heisman frontrunner Leonard Fournette – who averaged over 13 yards per carry against Notre Dame – at running back and a young but talented defense, quarterback is the missing piece for a truly special season at LSU, and Golson could step in and make an immediate impact with little to no competition.

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Some may argue that switching programs during the summer is too short a time span to learn a new offense and grow accustomed to a new team, but it wouldn’t be the first time a quarterback felt the pinch and transferred to another institution for one season. Star NFL quarterback Russell Wilson recently told the media he was forced out of N.C. State by then-coach Tom O’Brien when Wilson indicated his desire to play minor league baseball for the Colorado Rockies during the summer rather than focus completely on football. Wilson utilized the graduate transfer rule to immediately enroll at Wisconsin and ultimately captured a Big Ten Championship, exposure that helped propel Wilson to a successful NFL career.

Others have argued Golson has unfinished business at Notre Dame which will cause him to stay, but such points have no merit. While the senior quarterback may have fallen short of a national championship, should Golson decide to leave, he will do so in an accomplished manner. For all the bumps along the way Golson will have played a pivotal role in turning Notre Dame’s program around on the football field, and he would leave Notre Dame as a graduate, a major accomplishment considering the obstacles that had to be overcome.

Whether or not Golson will stay or go remains to be seen. But given the current state of the program, leaving Notre Dame may be yet another “business decision” Golson has to make.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has authored several nationally-featured articles, including an appearance on MSNBC as a sports contributor. He talks football 24 hours a day, much to the chagrin of his wife and those around him. Scott can be reached at or follow him on twitter.


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  1. Peter Recchio 5 years ago

    We as fans only see what is in front of us; we cannot see what goes on behind the scenes. It is therefore, very difficult to overlay our visual perception onto the unknown of relationships and team chemistry. In all the interviews with players I have rarely heard a player speak of undying loyalties to BK himself. Many times we have heard this loyalty to various assistants, and most importantly of ND herself.

    I have not been, and am not now a believer in BK. He is an 8-5 guy, with possibilities of 6-7, or even more rarely 10-3. I don’t feel the true sincerity and obvious love for the ND family and student-athletes. He is more distant and cold.

    He has had (6) six recruiting cycles to find his type of QB. What IS his offense? What IS his type of QB? And on defense; 6 cycles should have brought a more dominant group than we have seen. You count the transfers, and assistant coaching defections, it does not add to long term stability and growth.

    Golson leaving is going to be tough to cover as he IS a superior passer to Zaire. but Golson’s immaturity and turnovers will not be missed. Like I’ve said on a previous post: to bad Zaire doesn’t have an inner Hanratty so we could have three great years coming.

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  2. Mike T 5 years ago


    The reason I am glad he left is it leaves little uncertainty about the quarterback position. Golson seems to have a problem with the pressure of having to compete for his job. Or maybe he realized in the spring that Zaire had improved so much that he wouldn’t win the competition.
    Here’s the facts Golson is a cheater, he got caught and while it’s good to forgive, most people would never forget that he is a documented cheater and hence in many people’s eyes, untrustworthy. His cheating let his teamates down having to sit out a season when ND was expected to be right back in the thick of things.
    As for the NC season ND would never have made it to the NC without Rees pulling him out of the fire several times. So to say he led the Irish to an undefeated season is really not true.

    I contend that if you are truly a Golson fan, you should also be happy to see him go. It’s his choice, he made it and presumably for his own happiness and his own future. Why aren’t you happy for him rather than sad?

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  3. Mike 5 years ago

    Jack, I understand your concern about EG’s turnovers in year 3. You bring up Tommy Rees. He wasn’t called Tommy Turnover for nothing and that was for all 4 years. As frustrating as EG’s turnovers were, TR’s “Chuck and Duck” interceptions were also. If you want to come down harder on EG because he had more ability, that’s fine. But he wasn’t the only experienced QB committing turnovers that left fans shaking their heads.

    I’m sad to see EG go but I understand why. I wish him all the best.

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  4. Jack 5 years ago


    I wish EG the best in whatever he does and I agree that playing for BK can be tough and demanding, but EG also needs to look in the mirror. I as a coach would be extremely annoyed if I had been harping on ball security since he came to campus and he still was fumbling in year 3. Remember in 2012 when everyone was clamoring for him to run and BK said he had ball security issues. Also, the interceptions that he threw were unacceptable and at times could have been avoided. With Tommy Rees he saw the play, but didn’t have the arm to make it, EG didn’t see the play.

    I think the relationship between EG and BK was strained from beginning and EG didn’t fit BK’s style of in your face when you screwed up. I also believe that BK should look in the mirror and adjust his style with his QB’s and realize that maybe the simple offense is the best offense. He doesn’t have Peyton Manning or Tom Brady back there to audible into the right play. He doesn’t have Tommy Rees who could also make the right call.

    I am looking forward to the zone read being run properly and more running than passing this year. We will see, but to say I am glad EG left, I am not. To say I didn’t see the flaws in his game and leadership, would be a lie and finally to say that BK didn’t mismanage him would also be a lie.

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  5. Michael the Archangel 5 years ago

    Fortunately, Golson doesn’t need the support of anyone on this thread- which is a good thing because there isn’t much of it being offered. Still the November losses are hung around EGs neck like an albatross, as if the collapse of the defense and kicking game last November played no part in the end-of-the-year losses. Please – for those of you who focus on only his negative stats, go look in the mirror, then
    stick- once and for all- the 22 turnover mantra where the sun don’t shine.

    Maybe Golson would rather play for a different coach? When he returned, I recall he said it was great to be back with his teammates, and that he returned to prove he could graduate from ND despite others (several on this thread as well ) who’d prefer to focus on that poor academic decision.
    Don’t ever recall him celebrating being reunited with BK. As a graduate, he can look elsewhere.
    We all know that few QBs would be getting a quicker hook than EG even if he did start vs.Texas.
    Maybe playing under that inevitability made the decision for him easier.
    His Spring silence and his demeanor suggested as BB.King sang, “The Thrill Is Gone”, and that isn’t a matter of blame on anyone as it is dealing with a current reality for him and his planning for his last collegiate season.

    I wish him the best. He returned, got his degree like he said he would. Maybe, just maybe, his relationship (or absence of one) with Kelly was the deciding factor on his leaving.

    To expect those around you to not overrract to misfortune and setbacks, one needs to model not overreacting to misfortune and setbacks, and that remains one of Kelly’s most obvious flaws to me.
    Maybe Alford and Cooks better understand why EG chose to leave.
    Best wishes EG.
    Good luck, Zaire.
    Many out there await to condemn and focus on your shortcomings – coming soon to a stadium you will compete in- and most of them will call themselves your team’s “Fans!”

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  6. Jack 5 years ago

    I think Kelly needs to look at how,he calls plays. Everytime he decides to give more info of the playboy the QB play suffers. Keep it simple like the LSU game or the play book in 2012 and watch the offense flourish. Let’s not have all these checks to get into the right play that gains 2 yds or turns the ball over

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  7. Beatha breath 5 years ago

    I would give the kid a break for leaving though, if it turns out he wasn’t able to get into any ND graduate programs.

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  8. Beatha breath 5 years ago

    Wow Ron, I have to say it’s almost refreshing to read you so unicorns and rainbows…

    Golson has a degree from ND; after being very publicly suspended for cheating, and costing his team their starting QB for a full season. He then hired Whitfield for an obviously exorbitant fee in the hopes that his tutelage would elevate him to a level of college excellence and future nfl prospect, only to display little improvement upon his weaknesses, and be replaced, and beaten out, by a young QB with no meaningful game time experience.

    A national championship game..? Yes, a game that his head coach publicly stated “he road the bus to.”

    His decision making ability off the field has proven better than on, which is to say; poor at best.

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  9. Ron Burgundy 5 years ago

    Endless string of poor decisions?? He’s a graduate of Notre Dame and was the starting QB of a team that played for a NC. We should all be such poor decision makers.

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  10. Beatha breath 5 years ago

    Just another in a seemingly endless string of poor decisions by Golson. The likelihood that he’ll end up at a school where he can walk on and have a season that impresses nfl scouts enough to be drafted, enough to erase all the glaring weaknesses exposed at ND, the jumping ship in the face of younger competition…next to nothing.

    While I don’t agree with Mike on this one, that Golson is better gone, than the back up. I am willing to bid good riddance. ND did far better by Golson, than he did by ND.

    It’s also worth noting that his leaving may say something about the incoming competition as well. With a new OC, a notoriously complex one, and better suited qb’s clawing at his remaining year, maybe Golson felt that leaving was his only option?

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  11. Jack 5 years ago

    Shaz the difference between Leak, Tebow and Golson and Zaire is that Leak was locked under scholarship and out of eligibility and Tebow was freshman. Golson graduated which gave him options and Leak was out of options so it was play for Florida or try the NFL.

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  12. Shazamrock 5 years ago

    You look at a coach like Urban Meyer when he was at Florida and
    had 2 gifted QB’s.

    One was a senor (Chris Leak) who moved the team down the field.
    The other was an under classmen (Tim Tebow) who came in inside the red zone.

    One got the brunt, the other got the glory.
    Meyer was somehow able to sell that deal to his senor QB , and the end result was a National Championship.

    There’s a lesson in there for coaches everywhere…. including ND’s Brian Kelly.

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  13. Ron Burgundy 5 years ago

    Mr. T
    We all get it that you dislike Golson and love Zaire but Golson leaving is not a positive development for ND. Not sure why you are happy that he is leaving. As much as Zaire will run it is likely he may miss a series or two and possibly a game. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some experience backing him up? Instead, now ND is one torn ACL away from a .500 season. When Kiel left, many on here said good riddance he doesn’t want to compete. A few weeks later Golson is suspended and there are no QBs left other than Rees. I get why the kid left but am sad to see him go.

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  14. Shazamrock 5 years ago

    Mike & Mike in the morning…

    Yes, we know Golson…. and Golson knows our offense, philosophy, signals, and playbook.
    I’m guessing he’d be pretty pumped to play us.
    I know I wouldn’t bet against him.

    As it is graduation time for high school senors as well, Wallace probably didn’t make the grades needed
    to satisfy Admissions.

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  15. Mike 5 years ago

    Well, between EG transferring and Bo Wallace’s decision not to come to ND, they’re that much closer to getting to 85. If Ishaq can’t/won’t get himself eligible and Hounshell is not granted a 5th year, I think that would get them to 85.

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