Think DeShone Kizer, Malik Zaire and Brandon Wimbush hit up Cancun or Panama City Beach for spring break? Think again.
Notre Dame’s talented three-deep each hit the road during the university’s spring break, but all three went to work with quarterback coaches as they prepare for a very important spring practice. IrishSportsDaily.com’s Matt Freeman has the scoop on the travel plans($), reporting that Zaire went to Arizona to train with Dennis Gile at The Quarterback Academy while Kizer and Wimbush are in San Diego working with George Whitfield.
Zaire stuck around in Arizona after the Fiesta Bowl to spend some time with Gile, clearly ready to do battle this spring after recovering from his broken ankle. Kizer follows Everett Golson’s footsteps from South Bend to San Diego, training with Whitfield after a successful debut campaign, taking over for Zaire in the season’s second week.
Social Media gave us our first look at workouts:
Wimbush traveling to San Diego is a nice addition. While head coach Brian Kelly talked publicly about the hope to redshirt Wimbush and get back the year of eligibility he had to use in 2015, the rising sophomore has the raw talent and tools to be a dynamic player. Putting the work in and traveling on his own dime to San Diego to work with Whitfield shows that he’s ready to make the investment in his own future.
Notre Dame opens up spring practice on March 16th.
Earlier this week, Mother Nature tried to keep spring football off the front burner with a dusting of snow in South Bend. But that didn’t stop Brian Kelly from taking his team outside for their annual Camp Kelly workouts.
Our friends at Fighting Irish Media and UND.com put together a nice video capturing the workouts. There’s plenty to get excited about—mostly that football is less than two weeks away.
One of the big questions when Notre Dame takes to the field to start spring practice was who would be filling the shoes of left tackle Ronnie Stanley. It appears left guard Quenton Nelson may have supplied an answer a few weeks early.
Nelson hinted via social media that starting right tackle Mike McGlinchey was flipping to the left side of the line, finding a new home next to Nelson along the line of scrimmage. That could be the first move along a new-look offensive line as the Irish offense reboots this spring, needing to replace a handful of key contributors as they also kick-start another quarterback battle.
If McGlinchey is indeed moving, that means three new starters will be lining up next to each other as Nick Martin, Steve Elmer and McGlinchey’s positions are all now vacant. We’ve walked through the candidates for starting jobs, but locking in the left side of the line makes complete sense. Remember, in past years Notre Dame leaned heavily on the combo of Zack Martin and Chris Watt, and pairing two mauling starters like McGlinchey and Nelson could give the Irish a similar advantage—especially in the run game.
McGlinchey’s size and power were perfect prototypes for right tackle. They’re just as useful on the left side, with the wildcard being Malik Zaire‘s lefty throwing arm. The move also follows the trend of Stanley starting his career at right tackle then flipping to the left side once the starting job opened up.
The candidates for the starting center job appear to be Sam Mustipher and Tristen Hoge. From there, it gets murky. Alex Bars, who I assumed had a chance to be the starter at left tackle, could now be locked in on the right side. Then again, he could be a candidate to start at guard as well, where he was backing up Nelson last season.
There is no shortage of talent along the offensive line, with veterans like Colin McGovern or Hunter Bivin capable of stepping in or a true freshman like Tommy Kraemer a summer wildcard. While there is no rush to finalize a starting five, the news that McGlinchey will take over the left tackle spot helps bring some clarity to a position with three question marks remaining.
Chase Hounshell channeled his inner Tommy Boy when taking to Twitter to announce his decision to play another year of college football.
“Going to college for six years isn’t just for doctors anymore,” the defensive lineman turned tight end quipped.
After shoulder injuries robbed Hounshell of multiple seasons of competition, the Ohio native has been granted, and will pursue, a sixth-year of eligibility. He just won’t be doing it at Notre Dame.
Hounshell played last season at tight end for the Irish, serving as an in-line blocker while reeling in one catch on the season. He essentially talked his way back onto the team after a meeting with Brian Kelly, transitioning last spring to tight end with no guarantee of a scholarship come fall. But the season was enough to help the Irish and essentially reboot Hounshell’s playing career, taking almost 200 snaps at tight end.
Hounshell hasn’t decided where he’ll play next season, giving a quote to IrishSportsDaily.com:
“I have received my release from Notre Dame and I will be taking visits to transfer for the upcoming season,” Hounshell told Matt Freeman of ISD.
Notre Dame’s tight end depth chart with feature Durham Smythe, Nic Weishar and Alizé Jones in 2016, as rising junior Tyler Luatua has transferred to BYU.
It looks like Everett Golson hasn’t thrown his last pass in South Bend after all. The former Irish signal-caller, whose decision to transfer after graduating last spring threw the quarterback depth chart into chaos, will reportedly return to campus to participate in Notre Dame’s Pro Day on March 31.
The possibility had been discussed quite a bit the past few weeks—especially after Golson didn’t receive an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (He even talked about it with ESPN’s Hannah Storm on-air.) But credit 247 Sports’ Steve Wiltfong for breaking the story.
Golson’s fifth-year didn’t go according to plan in Tallahassee, with the former Irish quarterback eventually losing his starting job to backup Sean Maguire. Statistically, Golson didn’t necessarily struggle—he completed 67-percent of his passes and threw 11 touchdowns against just three interceptions—but after the Seminoles lost two games and found an offensive rhythm with Maguire, Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher looked to the future and went with the quarterback who’ll be on campus next season.
Golson wasn’t with the team in their Peach Bowl loss to Houston, for what Fisher characterized as a “personal issue,” reported at the time to be a death in the family. He ended his college career with 52 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions.
While Golson is probably the highest profile transfer to return for Pro Day, this isn’t an unprecedented situation. Miami (Ohio) quarterback Andrew Hendrix took part in Notre Dame’s Pro Day. So did transfers like Jake Golic. Golson’s return is likely a huge positive for skill players like Will Fuller, Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise, adding an impressive thrower to their job audition.
Suspended defensive end Ishaq Williams will also work out for NFL scouts on March 31 along with Irish prospects like Matthias Farley and Amir Carlisle who weren’t invited to the combine.