A couple of former Notre Dame Fighting Irish football starters who played for other schools last season have received NFL rookie mini-camp invitations.
QB Malik Zaire, who played for the Irish for 4 years and graduated last year before heading to the Florida Gators for his 5th and final season, was invited to rookie mini-camp by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
No quit goes a long way! Never give up! pic.twitter.com/FhrBUpqYAr— Malik Zaire (@MalikZaire8) May 1, 2018
Zaire, as most of you remember, won the starting quarterback job in the fall of 2015 after earning his first career start in the Music City Bowl in January (where he was MVP and led ND to a last-second win over the LSU Tigers).
In the 2015 season opener, Zaire tore apart a visiting Texas Longhorns defense, performing near-flawlessly while going 19-for-22 passing with 313 yards and 3 TDs.
He would go on to fracture his ankle in the next game, watch DeShone Kizer become a star in his stead, and ultimately lose the starting job in the 2016 season, causing him to seek a final year elsewhere with Brandon Wimbush waiting in the wings.
Zaire went to Florida, where he was unable to win the starting job and played sparingly, throwing for 349 yards and an interception during the 2017 season.
Max Redfield, meanwhile, was quite a different story than Zaire in terms of how he left Notre Dame. Instead of losing his starting spot due to injury and a player behind him taking off, Redfield could not stay out of trouble off of the field and was eventually dismissed from the team and university after an arrest in 2016 involving marijuana and carrying a handgun without a license.
A great athlete who never seemed to put it all together on or off the field, Redfield landed at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and appeared to get back on track, as he had a fantastic season in 2017 for the Crimson Hawks. He was named a first-team All-American in Division 2 football by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and D2Football.com, and tallied 78 total tackles, 4 interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He also broke up an additional nine passes.
Now, Redfield has been invited by the Oakland Raiders to their rookie mini-camp.
Congratulations to Max Redfield on his rookie mini-camp invitation from the @RAIDERS! pic.twitter.com/tD2A1YZVM9— IUP Football (@IUPfootball) May 2, 2018
Both the Raiders’ and Jaguars’ rookie mini-camps will take place this weekend, and the two former Irish players will battle it out with other undrafted and unsigned rookies for a chance to make the roster this summer/fall.