Your Move Mr. Golson: Where Will Everett Golson End Up?
There was a time when Everett Golson was looked at as the next great Notre Dame QB. A savior of sorts, Golson led the Fighting Irish to a berth in the 2013 BCS National Championship, where the team would ultimately be pummeled by Alabama. Then Golson went on a one-year hiatus after being suspended for "poor academic judgement." Once he returned to the field for the 2014 season, everything seemed to be back to normal. That is until Notre Dame lost five of its last seven games and head coach Brian Kelly opted to go in a younger direction by inputting Malik Zaire into the starter's role.
Thus after spring practice, with Golson still not being named the outright starter for the team, he has decided to transfer. But where will he end up? There are just a handful of teams on his radar now, so let's see which of these schools will have the best chance to land one of the top "free agents" in college football.
Who would've thought it would be this hard to replace Hutson Mason? Mason, who entered last season as a redshirt senior, had played second fiddle to Aaron Murray prior to last season. But, truth be told, Mason actually was a solid QB for the Bulldogs, providing stability at a position that most thought was questionable entering the year. Mason finished the season with 2,168 passing yards, completing nearly 68% of his passes, while throwing 21 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions.
The state of Georgia's quarterback position is wide open right now. Currently, the Bulldogs have a trio of QB's battling for the right to be the team's No. 1 come Week One - Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park. Ramsey saw the most action of the three last season, playing in eight games throwing for 333 yards to go along with three touchdowns and two interceptions. For Golson to join this offense would certainly add a level of explosiveness. Coupling him with Nick Chubb in the backfield would be interesting to see how opposing defenses try to combat that duo.
Wasn't Alabama in this situation last year? The year after losing longtime hero and one of the most reliable QB's in AJ McCarron, Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin had their heads spinning trying to find the heir to McCarron's throne. It all seemed settled when highly touted Florida State transfer Jacob Coker stepped on campus. But then Coker failed to impress and separate himself like most predicted, leaving a wide open competition between him and Blake Sims, the latter of whom would go on to lead the Crimson Tide as its starter and a berth in the first ever College Football Playoff.
Well, now with Sims gone, the starter's job finally belongs to Coker...or does it? According to multiple reports not only is Alabama in the market for Golson, there's also a chance it could land Ohio State QB Braxton Miller. For all intents and purposes, let's say that Golson is the one who winds up in Tuscaloosa. Lane Kiffin has done wonders with QB's over the years and despite the way Golson ended last season--throwing seven interceptions during Notre Dame's four-game skid--placing him in Kiffin's offense might be the key to unveiling the real Everett Golson, one that is an explosive play-maker.
Yes, yet another SEC team joins the list inquiring on the quarterback's services. But why not let the rich get richer when it comes to talent? Only, Florida isn't exactly rich at the quarterback position, the Gators are quite poor in that regard. Florida fans finally got their wishes with Will Muschamp being fired and former QB Jeff Driskel transferring to Louisiana Tech after being benched midway through 2014. Now with a new offensive-minded regime headed up by former Colorado State head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, the Gators are hoping to rebuild the offense to the glory days of when Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer were winning titles down in the Swamp.
Florida's cupboard of QB's shows only two scholarship players left - redshirt freshman Will Grier and sophomore Treon Harris - after the departure of Driskel and third-string QB Skyler Mornhinweg, who transferred to Columbia University. Grier, one of the most highly touted QB's in the 2014 class, is supposedly in the lead for the starter's job after the spring, according to McElwain. However, Golson would unquestionably be the starter if he signed on the dotted line with the Gators. He would bring an offensive threat that Florida has been missing since Tim Tebow left, and would undoubtedly help to recruit more offensive weapons to a university that has been missing poorly in that department the past few years.
4. Florida State
Finally, a non-SEC school that is in line to try and persuade Golson to play. After losing controversial Heisman-winning QB Jameis Winston as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Seminoles have a void to fill at quarterback. Besides Winston, only redshirt junior Sean Maguire saw action under center. Maguire was thrust into the spotlight against Clemson after Winston was suspended for the game due to the obscenity he yelled out during school earlier that week. He responded with mixed results--he threw for 304 yards, but also threw two picks and just one touchdown.
But here's the real reason why FSU may be the best bet for Golson. If Golson wants to play for an SEC school, he would have to get a special waiver from the conference due to the academic issues that follow him from Notre Dame. This throws a wrench into the wheels of the SEC schools, but greases the wheel of the Seminoles who were almost beat by Golson if not for a late controversial offensive pass interference call last season. Florida State even appears to be in the lead at this point according to head coach Jimbo Fisher.
"We're negotiating, we're talking right now," Fisher said. "We're going through things. Staying in contact with him."
Take what you want from all this transfer drama. Golson wants to transfer close to his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and these four schools are the handful pining for his services. Golson is obviously not the long-term fix for these teams at QB, but he's a good fit for these teams who are looking to bide time for the inexperienced players they do have. If we were to look into the crystal ball, Florida State would seem to be the clear choice for Golson as it is the simplest and easiest route to playing time. Be that as it may, no one truly knows where Golson is headed just yet. Soon enough the news will break with where he's going and one of these teams' fan base will be excited while the others are left skeptical of what 2015 will hold under center for them.