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Kizer already getting his NFL closeup

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Even after an impressive debut season, DeShone Kizer managed to fly under the radar. It could’ve been his star-studded teammates. Or the fact that he was still fighting for a starting job. But an ascent that seemed utterly predictable wasn’t necessarily that.

After all, this May, ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper a list of his top quarterbacks—and Kizer’s name was nowhere to be found. Ready for your

Not anymore.

Since Kizer lit up Texas he hasn’t stopped. And people have taken notice. While caveats should apply to some NFL Draft experts—the similarities to grilling aficionados and amateur lawn-care specialists are sometimes applicable—some very pedigreed pundits have Kizer quickly turning into a guy who may decided this season is his last at the college level.

The MMQB did an in-depth feature on Kizer and talked to several former Notre Dame quarterbacks about their impressions of the Irish’s starting quarterback, while also digging into the fact that Notre Dame hasn’t had a breakthrough quarterback in quite some time.

So even if Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn, or Rick Mirer didn’t turn into the stars they seemed destined to be, what has them so certain about Kizer?

Give the story a read, but here are a few great quotes on Kizer that came from former Irish greats.

“I’m watching that play. And I know right away. Here’s the guy. Here’s the next great Notre Dame quarterback,” former quarterback and receiver Carlyle Holiday told MMQB.

“The way he’s handled himself since that play makes you think he can succeed at the next level,” Mirer said.

“He has great pocket presence, he moves around, he’s always ready to release the ball when guys are breaking, he gives them nice, catchable balls. He’s a tough kid, and you can tell the other 10 guys on the field respond to him. I mean if you’re building a team, what other qualities would you want?” former Irish star Jarious Jackson said.

And then there’s Brady Quinn. The former Browns quarterback hopes that Kizer isn’t the guy Cleveland turns to when they look to solve their franchise woes.

“If DeShone goes to Cleveland next year, he’ll get a first-hand experience of very poor ownership and, unfortunately, a poor long-term and short-term vision of how to build success,” Quinn said.

A very good read by Emily Kaplan who digs into the psychology of playing quarterback at Notre Dame.

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Meanwhile over at Bleacher Report, Matt Miller turned his focus to Kizer and likes everything he sees. With a comp of Ben Roethlisberger and projections of Kizer being capable of being a “instant starter” like Carson Wentz, Miller sums up his thoughts on Kizer with this praise:

Through three weeks of college football, Kizer sits atop the quarterback board. Even as a redshirt sophomore, the projection on him is so high that if he were to enter the draft, he would be the top-ranked quarterback.

That’s not to say that Kizer is right now more pro-ready than Deshaun Watson or Brad Kaaya—it’s too early for that type of opinion—but that his ultimate potential is higher than any other draft-eligible quarterback in college.

 

There’s still so much football left to be played. But after going through leave-or-not scenarios with guys like Ronnie Stanley, Will Fuller, Jaylon Smith and Zack Martin, Notre Dame appears to have another player who’ll have a difficult decision in front of him.