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Early Enrollees: Malik Zaire

Feb 5, 2013, 8:58 PM EDT

Malik Zaire

With a back-log of talent at quarterback, it was almost expected that Notre Dame would skip this recruiting cycle at the position if it didn’t land one of its earliest targets. But in signing Malik Zaire, the Irish found themselves another quarterback that’s tailor-made for what Brian Kelly wants to do with his offense. Zaire, who burst onto the scene with his impressive performance at the Elite 11 camp, looks like a left-handed Everett Golson, a silky smooth athlete with a great throwing stroke and nimble feet. After playing in a Wing-T system in high school, the transition to college football might be steep. But there’s no rush for this early enrollee.

Kettering, Ohio

Measureables: 6-foot-1, 196-pounds
Accolades: Four-star ranking, Rivals, ESPN, Scout, 247Sports. No. 3 Dual-threat QB in country, per Rivals. AP All Ohio Division-III Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year. First-team QB All-Region. Finalist, Mr. Football Ohio.
Impressive offers: Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Projected position: Quarterback

Quick Take: There’s a ton to like about Zaire, another undersized athlete-first quarterback. A left-handed thrower, Zaire looks smooth in the pass game, the product of a silky delivery and natural ability. He’s also proficient running the ball, racking up over 1,100 yards on the ground last year.

With a depth chart stacked with blue-chip talent, there’s no reason to think that Zaire won’t work his way to the top of it. At the Elite 11 camp, Zaire wowed coaches with his savvy and ability, thriving in an offensive system light years different than his high school’s. Yogi Roth, an Elite 11 coach, was higher on Zaire than Notre Dame’s last two QB signees, Gunner Kiel and Everett Golson.

What it means for the Irish roster: Stability at a position that might not stay that way. With a log-jam behind Golson entering spring ball, it wouldn’t be surprising if someone transfers out of South Bend for the opportunity to play. If that’s Andrew Hendrix, it doesn’t likely factor into Zaire’s trajectory. But if it’s Kiel, Zaire could be thrust into action sooner than later.

Obligatory YouTube highlight tape: Not much on the net by way of Zaire’s senior season, but here’s a link to Zaire’s junior reel, and a quick video of the QB in shorts at the Elite 11 prelim camp.



  1. notredameirish1980 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    If Hendrix is really going to med school, he wouldn’t be back after this coming year. Unless there is a disaster of Titanic proportions at QB, that ship has sailed. Or maybe we could go the Hindenburg and up in flames route.

    • dickasman - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Yeah I think he might as well pick up the guitar. Safe to say that Hendrix experience is over.

    • papadec - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      1980 – you mean to say there are actually guys who play college ball that plan a career other than the NFL?

    • 1historian - Feb 6, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      Why the nasty? When he graduates in May 2014 and (probably) goes to Med school he will have done what he came to do – gotten a first class education and played football for Notre Dame. So he never started. So what?

      Dick – you’re slipping. We look to you for snarky comments that we can get indignant about and dump all over you and (most important) help you get out to a good solid lead in the annual thumbs down race.

      But – you gotta give us some reasons.

      We look to you

  2. gmenfan1982 - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Wow, this kid has a pretty arm. Incredibly smooth throwing motion and really nice touch to the ball.

  3. jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Keith, isn’t Golson left-handed? You called Zaire a left-handed Everett Golson.

    • nudeman - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      Golson isn’t left handed, but Golston, Gholston and Golsen are.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        Touché nuder.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      Oops, my bad. Why did I think that?

  4. irisheyesinsd - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Hope there are more than 17 of these profiles to go….

    • irisheyesinsd - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      Fitts to UCLA.

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