News broke today that Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, their starter for the 2012 undefeated season and most of last year, is leaving South Bend as a graduate transfer. As he already has his degree, Golson can move to a new FBS school and be eligible to play immediately, with no sit-out year, as with most transfers.
There had been some rumors of Golson possibly eyeing this move, with LSU coming up, back in January/February, but he stuck through Notre Dame's spring to finish classes and try to compete for the starting job again, which he appears to have lost to Malik Zaire.
This report from ESPN's Brett McMurphy once again links the 6-1, 200-pound QB to the Tigers, along with Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Texas. Earlier in the year, Shea Dixon of Geaux 247 had also suggested that South Carolina would be a possible landing spot as well, as Golson is a South Carolina native.
So what do we know:
- We know that LSU considered taking a transfer quarterback before the spring, specifically one that could compete for the starting job with Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris right away, but didn't offer any junior college guys. Nor were any graduate transfers like Golson or Braxton Miller immediately available.
- LSU would certainly be interested in any player that can help make the team better, and that describes Golson. Whether it's as a starter or even just quality depth, Golson would help this team in 2015. At the barest of minimums, if he can't beat out Jennings or Harris (and it would be difficult given that Golson would essentially receive no real coaching until fall camp begins in August -- that's no small eight-ball to overcome), Golson provides an experienced backup or third-stringer, something the Tigers certainly don't have in freshman Justin McMillan.
- The SEC does allow graduate transfers, however, they have to have more than one year of eligibility. Otherwise, the league office has to grant them a waiver. The rule was put in place after Jeremiah Masoli's infamous year tenure at Ole Miss in 2010 (Houston Nutt was a groundbreaker in Oxford). Alabama's Jacob Coker was a different case last year, as he had three years of eligibility when he left Florida State.
Here's what we don't know:
- Is Golson a better option than what LSU presently has with Jennings/Harris? It's a real question. Golson certainly threw for yardage and touchdown figures we would have loved to have seen out of the Tigers last season, but he also turned it over an astounding 22 times, the most of any single player in the Power Five conferences. And it's not like Golson set the world on fire in 2012 with the Irish, throwing 12 touchdowns against six picks. The Irish were very much led by their defense that season. The offense kind of just did the bare minimum. This isn't nearly the same situation as the Miller rumors.
It also raises the question of how Jennings or Harris would transfer, should Golson come in and take a starting job they both just spent the spring in a knock-down, drag-out brawl to try and take control of. These are all the kind of things that the coaching staff would have to weigh, including team chemistry and how Golson would just fit in the program in general. Would the rest of the team support him, or feel like he's some carpetbagger swooping in on the other two?
For what it's worth, Jennings did tweet something about "bring him on" earlier this afternoon, although it's since been deleted. Although there's no way of knowing whether that was actually directed at potential Golson rumors or not.
- Does Golson even want to come here? If you believe the McMurphy report, that's some stiff competition for Golson. Does he want to come in and compete, or would he expect a more secured path to a starting job. Among the rumored SEC squads, LSU does at least have a starter with some experience returning. Albeit really bad experience. Those other schools may be willing to offer him an easier path to the starting job. Jim McElwain at Florida has no reason to feel loyal to any of his returning quarterbacks as he tries to set the tone there. There's also the prospect that a year in Austin, throwing on Big 12 defenses might be more appealing as well.
- And most importantly, we don't know whether or not the SEC would even clear Golson to come in. Several national writers on twitter speculated that Golson's 2013 suspension for academic misconduct at ND might be something of a red flag. As it is, he would certainly appear like more of a pure free agent than other recent transfers, who had several years to work on their second degree.
All in all, it's an interesting development from a rumor standpoint, but time will tell as to whether or not things will move forward. We'll keep you updated as best we can if anything develops.