According to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, Malik Zaire is expected to be granted his release on Wednesday when he sits down with head coach Brian Kelly. Zaire is scheduled to graduate in December which will allow him to transfer ASAP and not have to sit out a season. We all knew this day would come as soon as DeShone Kizer firmly took ahold of the quarterback position against Texas.
Breaking: Malik Zaire expected to get release Wednesday; four schools running out front for the grad transfer https://t.co/aNWBc4Y4VC— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) November 29, 2016
Sampson also reported that Zaire is already looking around at other schools. The other schools that are reportedly interested in Zaire’s talents are Michigan State, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, and Florida. Since Notre Dame is not in a bowl game and won’t have to practice, Zaire will have the chance during the month of December.
The interesting part of that list is Michigan State is on Notre Dame’s 2017 schedule. Back in 2015 when Golson was looking to transfer Kelly wouldn’t allow him to transfer to Texas because they were on the 2015 schedule.
As we all know Zaire burst on to the scene at the end of the 2014 season when he led Notre Dame to a upset victory over LSU and garnered MVP honors in the Music City Bowl. His performance eventually forced Golson to transfer to Florida Sate.
He was then named the starter for the 2015 season and shined in the season opener against Texas. In that game he completed 19 of 22 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-3 drubbing of the Longhorns. Unfortunately for Zaire it went all down hill from there. The following week he broke his ankle against Virginia, which allowed Kizer fully entrench himself as Notre Dame’s quarterback.
This season the storyline of fall camp was, “Who will it be? Kizer or Zaire?” After Kizer led Notre Dame to the brink of a victory on opening night against Texas and Zaire struggled in his limited action, Kelly ultimately went with Kizer.
This isn’t how we envisioned Zaire’s Notre Dame career ending after having much early success. Zaire seems like an all around great guy and was a great ambassador for the university. Hopefully for him he’ll get one more chance at a big time program and eventually get a shot at the NFL.
As of now Notre Dame is looking pretty young at the quarterback position next season. Zaire is gone and the general assumption is that Kizer will leave for the NFL. That leaves sophomore Brandon Wimbush, freshman Ian Book and walk-on Montgomery VanGorder on roster. 2017 commit and four-star quarterback Avery Davis is also slated to be on roster next season.