According to multiple reports, Notre Dame's Malik Zaire is on his way out. The senior quarterback will meet with head coach Brian Kelly today, and Zaire should get a release from the Irish to pursue a graduate transfer. Zaire is on track to graduate in December with one season of eligibility remaining. Zaire looked to be a potential star at Notre Dame when he started over Everett Golson in the Music City Bowl to end the 2014 season. Zaire won MVP of the game as they topped LSU.
When Zaire took over the starting spot on a full-time basis, he showed even more star power as he led the Irish to a blowout of Texas. The former four-star recruit went 19-of-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-3 rout. He would then break his ankle in the following game, and would never reclaim his job.
Now, according to Scout.com site Irish Illustrated, Florida, Pittsburgh, Michigan State and Wisconsin are the likely receipients of his services.
With his home roots and the college he currently attends, the likes of Pitt, MSU, and Wisconsin make sense for Zaire from a geographic perspective. The Spartans and Badgers are great programs, and the Panthers aren't too shabby either. Florida is in the mix for obvious reasons, as the Gators are always one of those teams loaded with talent that is just "a quarterback away" from contending for the College Football Playoffs.
Every team on his list makes perfect sense for their own reasons, but I find it baffling that he does not even appear to be considering a move to Baton Rouge to play for the LSU Tigers. Much like Florida, LSU is loaded with talent but often fails to move the ball in large part because of a shaky quarterback situation.
With Ed Orgeron taking over as the team's full-time head coach, the Tigers are looking to change their offensive identity. Many expect Coach O to snag his good friend Lane Kiffin from Alabama to be the team's next offensive coordinator, and they will undoubtedly look to spread the field and run an offense more up-to-date than the undercenter, I-Formation we've seen for years.
As they make the transition to a spread offense, Malik Zaire has the perfect skillset to run it. He is a dual-threat, playmaking quarterback, and he could fill the biggest hole in the LSU roster. Zaire would give the coaches the ability to get really creative with the offense, and I think he could be very successful with the new approach they are taking.
If Malik Zaire were smart, he has to at least consider transferring to LSU to play his final season as a Tiger. He would be a great fit in the new system, and his experience would help as the team makes this transition. LSU would give him the best chance to not only win, but also to put up big numbers and turn some heads.