Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has decided to transfer with one season of eligibility remaining. The senior is eligible immediately as a graduate transfer, so there will be plenty of suitors for his services.
Golson threw for 5,850 yards and 41 scores during his two years at Notre Dame. Additionally, he tossed 20 interceptions on 745 attempts. While Golson had his share of ups and downs during his career in South Bend, he guided the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the national championship game in 2012.
Where will Golson land? Here are 15 teams to watch:
15 Teams That Could Land Everett Golson for 2015
Alabama has options to replace Blake Sims, including Florida State transfer Jacob Coker and talented freshmen Blake Barnett and David Cornwell. Coker was expected to push for the starting job last year, but Sims started all 14 games for the Crimson Tide. Although Coker finished spring at the top of the depth chart, did he play with enough consistency to ease the concerns of the coaching staff with a new quarterback taking over?
First-year coach Jim McElwain’s biggest concern on offense isn’t at quarterback, as the offensive line is a major question mark for 2015. However, the Gators have plenty of uncertainty here, as redshirt freshman Will Grier edged Treon Harris for the top spot in the spring. Harris threw for 1,019 yards and nine scores last year, but Grier is a better fit for this offense. McElwain’s offense at Colorado State averaged 321.6 passing yards per game in 2014.
It’s probably a longshot for Golson to end up in Tallahassee, as Sean Maguire finished spring with a clear hold on the No. 1 job. However, replacing Jameis Winston is no easy task, and Maguire has only one previous start. Coach Jimbo Fisher is one of the best quarterback and offensive minds in the nation, which has to be appealing to Golson with one year of eligibility and an opportunity to impress NFL scouts in 2015.
The Tigers struggled mightily on offense last season and averaged only 162.9 passing yards per game. Uncertainty remained for LSU in the spring, as neither Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris staked a clear claim for the No. 1 spot. Jennings led the team with 11 passing scores last year, but there’s more upside with Harris. The Tigers aren’t lacking for talent at receiver but quarterback play remains a big concern for coach Les Miles. LSU has to be one of the early favorites for Golson’s services.
Just like Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino has no problem adding numbers to the quarterback position. The Cardinals aren’t in bad shape at quarterback for 2015, as sophomore Reggie Bonnafon is promising, and Tyler Ferguson is eligible after transferring from Penn State.
Jim Harbaugh is a quarterback guru, but the Wolverines already added Iowa transfer Jake Rudock to the team this spring. Michigan also has freshmen Zach Gentry and Alex Malzone competing with Rudock and Shane Morris for time in the fall. There’s more competition in Ann Arbor than some of the other teams on this list.
The Rebels have three candidates vying for the starting job, including junior college recruit (and former Clemson quarterback) Chad Kelly. DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan are also in the mix this fall, but Kelly is believed to have an edge over both for the starting job. Golson would be an upgrade over the three options on the roster. However, how quick can he pickup the offense and get acclimated to the supporting cast?
Golson will probably end up at a Power 5 team, but Miami, Ohio is a wildcard program to watch. Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin finished his first year as the program’s head coach, with the RedHawks finishing 2-10 last season. With Andrew Hendrix expiring his eligibility, Martin is expected to hand the offensive controls over to redshirt freshman Gus Ragland. Golson would be a key pickup if Martin can recruit him to Oxford.
Golson is a native of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the Gamecocks have an opening at quarterback after Dylan Thompson expired his eligibility this offseason. Connor Mitch finished spring at the top of the depth chart, but he has attempted only six passes in his career at South Carolina. Would coach Steve Spurrier be willing to take a chance on Golson for one year? It certainly makes sense.
Third-year coach Willie Taggart is squarely on the hot seat entering 2015, and the Bulls are switching to an up-tempo attack that would seem to fit Golson’s strengths. Mike White transferred in the spring, leaving Quinton Flowers (8 of 20 in 2014) as the favorite to win the job.
If LSU is the early favorite to land Golson, Texas might be No. 2. The Longhorns had only two scholarship quarterbacks in the spring, with true freshman Kai Locksley arriving this summer to compete with Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes for snaps. Heard closed the gap on Swoopes this spring, setting up an intriguing battling for the No. 1 spot in the fall. If Golson transfers here, his first game of 2015 would be against…Notre Dame.
Cyler Miles is not expected to return to the team in 2015, leaving coach Chris Petersen with three inexperienced candidates competing for the No. 1 spot. Jeff Lindquist is the team’s most experienced option, completing 10 of 30 passes for 162 yards and one score last year. However, the Huskies got a good look at freshmen K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jake Browning this spring, and both players are squarely in the mix to start.
Former Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco is entering his second year as UConn’s head coach. The Huskies ranked No. 10 in the American Athletic Conference in passing offense last year, with NC State transfer Bryant Shirreffs finishing spring at the top of the depth chart. Golson would be an immediate upgrade and starter if he transfers to UConn.
Quarterback play is arguably the biggest concern for coach Mike London’s team this season. Matt Johns edged Greyson Lambert for the No. 1 spot in the spring, but this job is still up for grabs. Johns and Lambert combined for 18 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions last year. And just an interesting side note: Virginia’s second game of 2015 is against Notre Dame.
New coach Paul Chryst inherits an offense that averaged only 148.7 passing yards per game last season. The Badgers have a strong rushing attack and defense to lean on but improving in the win column and pushing Ohio State or Michigan State for the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten depends on improved quarterback play. Joel Stave is back as the starter, but he only threw nine touchdown passes to 10 interceptions last year.