It was the Junior Day that wouldn’t stop giving. With the commitment of offensive linemen Hunter Bivin, Colin McGovern, and Mike McGlinchey, Irish fans already could chalk up the weekend as a win. But the addition of blue-chip, dual-threat quarterback Malik Zaire from Kettering, Ohio, solidifies the Irish at quarterback and turns the past 48 hours into one of the more entertaining offseason weekends in recent memory.
With Notre Dame looking to add a signal caller to the 2013 recruiting class, Zaire decided to pull the trigger this weekend, riding the emotions that came with a perfect visit to South Bend. With options like Alabama, Ohio State, Arizona, Nebraska, and Wisconsin among others, Zaire might as well have read from a manual when naming the reasons while Notre Dame was the perfect fit.
Christian McCollum of IrishSportsDaily.com got the winning quote out of Zaire, who might have just won recruiting bingo with this textbook response.
“I think the school sets you up, not just for a four-year plan, but for a 40-year plan,” Zaire told ISD. “It can take you far in life and help you be very successful once sports are over.
“I think that’s something everybody should look at in recruiting, a place that can set you up for life after sports and somewhere you would love to be not playing sports. I think if you look at it from that aspect, you’ll definitely find the place that you want to be.”
If that quote wasn’t enough to endear Zaire to Irish fans everywhere, he discussed choosing head coach Brian Kelly and the Irish over Urban Meyer and Ohio State, a shocking turn of events, with just about every recruitnik figuring Zaire a perfect replacement for current Buckeye Braxton Miller.
Pete Sampson of IrishIllustrated.com got this winning quote out of Zaire.
“Growing up here you’re definitely born to be an Ohio State fan,” Zaire told IrishIllustrated. “At the same time, I wanted to look at where I’d want to go to school without football. I could have gone to Ohio State, been a hometown hero and that would have been great. I had a great relationship with Coach Tressel. When Coach Meyer got there we had a good one-on-one relationship too. I don’t want to say I shied away, but I lost interest when they offered like seven or eight other quarterbacks in a one or two week span. That turned me off a little.”
(If Zaire can read defenses as well as crafty coaches in Columbus, he’s on his way to a fantastic career.)
A quick look at Zaire’s highlights show a left-hander that looks comfortable throwing from the pocket, but also has plenty of athleticism to get away from pressure. Zaire looks downright polished back to pass, showing good accuracy and the ability to read coverages, keeping his eyes down field when checking between receivers. On the hoof, Zaire looked really impressive, a capable option trigger man that also looked like one of the fastest guys on the field when he hit the open field.
The pledge of Zaire closes down the quarterback position for the Irish and leaves quite a few teams reassessing their No. 1 target. Zaire’s high school highlight tape is probably the most proficient in terms of option principles of anyone on the Irish depth chart, which is incredibly impressive when you combine it with his passing accuracy.
Zaire’s commitment make seven for the class of 2013.