Malik Zaire will be the guy going forward, and the Irish offense will reflect this
Instead of having a quarterback competition heading into fall camp, junior Malik Zaire will be the Irish starting QB against Texas. Zaire hasn't played much in an Irish uniform, but he looked good in games against Southern Cal and LSU. Having Zaire as the full time starter will have some interesting ramifications for the Irish offense. Fans can expect more running, especially by the quarterback this season compared to previous Kelly offenses. Zaire excelled running the read option in his short ND career, so we have to expect this will be a bigger part of the Irish offense going forward. For an in-depth at look at how the Irish offense might look with Zaire at the helm, check out the previous OFD Film Room pieces here and here.
We don't and probably won't ever really know why Everett transferred
There are more than a few rumors surrounding Everett Golson's reasons for transferring. These range from disliking Brian Kelly, being worried about playing time, or that he actually wanted to stay, but was denied acceptance to graduate school. All of these are possible, and we probably won't know if these had anything to do Golson's choice. While Everett was the presumed starter after spring practice, he still faced competition from Zaire going into the season. Additionally, Zaire's play at the end of last season made it seem all but inevitable that the two would split time regardless of who won the job. Coach Brian Kelly's detractors will likely point to his ability to keep QBs in the program as a potential reason for Golson's leaving. We've all seen clips of Kelly yelling at QB's on the sidelines after turnovers, and after the recent struggles ND has had at the QB position, it's possible Golson wanted out. While there are perfectly explicable reasons for Crist's and Kiel's leaving the program, it's hard to ignore the track record Kelly has had with quarterbacks. Kelly has yet to have the previous season's starting QB start the opener of the following season. Lastly, although Golson is set to graduate next week, and announced his intention to transfer after completing his last final exam, Golson still needed to be admitted to grad school to continue playing for the Irish. While admission to a graduate program was thought to be a formality, considering his previous academic misconduct, it's possible he wasn't granted admission to a graduate program at ND. Golson didn't say why he is transferring, and Kelly was mum on the QB's reasons in his statement to the press. Unless Everett decides to elaborate on his reasons for leaving, it's likely we'll never know for sure.
The quarterback battle between Wimbush and Kizer just got a lot more interesting
Before Golson's transfer, there was little drama at the bottom of the QB depth chart. Even if true freshman Brandon Wimbush blows away the staff in practice, he was almost guaranteed to redshirt if the two QBs ahead of him stayed healthy. Furthermore, many thought that Deshone Kizer might never take a snap for the Irish. He was trapped behind two QBs, and was facing competition from a blue chip recruit coming in behind him. Now, he might be the primary backup in 2015. In 2013 during Golson's suspension, Kelly kept Zaire on the sideline the entire season even though he was probably a better option than Andrew Hendrix as the backup. That was an easy choice in 2013 since the team was eliminated from BCS National Championship contention before October. With so many players returning in 2015, however, Kelly might feel pressure to play the younger quarterback even if it means him losing a year of eligibility if the team has a shot at the playoffs. Regardless of who wins the job, with Zaire's frequent runs, it's likely the backup will take a few snaps in key situations if he's ever shaken up or loses his helmet during a play.
Quarterback recruiting for the Class of 2016 is now hugely important
With two seasons of Zaire, three years of Kizer, and most likely four years of Wimbush after the end of the 2015 season, quarterback was low on the list of priorities for the 2016 recruiting cycle. Now, there's much less room for error. If Zaire has a setback or injury, Kizer struggles, or Wimbush is forced to play instead of redshirt, what once looked like a comfortable QB situation just became a more precarious one. The Irish have yet to secure a commitment from a quarterback in the 2016 class, and while it's still early in the cycle, getting a top QB just became a huge priority for the coaching staff. For a look at where ND stands with potential Class of 2016 QBs, check out the most recent QB/RB OFD Big Board.
The offseason drama continues for another year
While it's not as damaging as Golson's suspension immediately following Kiel's transfer in 2013 or the frozen five situation last year, it seems no offseason is complete without drama for the Irish football program. It's possible that other programs have similar offseason issues, but it definitely feels like something's up. The silver lining is that Golson's transfer along with Bo Wallace's issues opens up scholarships for more 5th years in the upcoming season. Hopefully this is the last time the Breaking News Banner of Doom TM rears its ugly head the rest of the summer, but for now, we'll just reset the "days without incident" sign back to zero.