Former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson announced he was transferring from Notre Dame on Wednesday. Golson graduated from Notre Dame this spring, making him immediately eligible in the 2015 season as a graduate transfer. Programs in the market for a good quarterback will most likely be in contact with the South Carolina native in the very near future, and some SEC schools will likely be interested.
First, it's probably worth recounting Golson's abilities. Golson started 11 games as a redshirt freshman and led Notre Dame to the National Championship game where the Fighting Irish eventually lost to Alabama. Golson had a solid season statistically for a first year starter. Last season, Golson improved upon his 2011-2012 numbers and threw for nearly 1,000 more yards with a higher passing rating while splitting reps with redshirt freshman Malik Zaire. What about the season in between those two? Golson was "banned for poor academic judgement" for the entire 2013-2014 season.
And That's Important To SEC Teams Because...
In 2014, the SEC lifted the ban on accepting graduate transfers (the practice was codified first in 2006, but the policy was reversed in 2011 after Jeremiah Masoli's transfer to Ole Miss), but put in place several caveats to the old policy. The transfer still must be transferring to a school that offers a graduate program the player's undergraduate institution does not offer. That's an easy work around that serves little more than perpetuating the myth of the "student-athlete"; however, the new policy has obstacles that may be tougher to overcome for Golson.
New graduate transfers must have remained eligible as an undergrad, and have no official disciplinary issues at their old school, among other lesser items. Golson has obvious issues with the second item, and possibly also the first item in that list. As a result, Golson will have to seek a waiver from the SEC office to gain eligibility within the conference. There is precedent; however, for the SEC granting waivers in this year-old policy shift. Last year, Florida football got a waiver for Jake McGee, and Florida basketball got one for Jon Horford.
The operative phrase in the new policy being "no official disciplinary issues". That could mean a lot of different things for a caveat that may really only exist to prevent players transferring into the SEC to escape disciplinary issues elsewhere. The question for Golson is will he want to go through a waiver process when other conferences have less red tape, and also have teams in need of a quality quarterback like Texas or Houston?
Assuming A Waiver Is Granted...
There will be numerous SEC teams who will be interested in adding a quality quarterback immediately this season.
In the last 10 minutes on Twitter, Golson has transferred to LSU, Bama, FSU, S. Carolina, Georgia, Washington & Oregon St.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) May 7, 2015
As David recently chronicled, there are numerous SEC teams that have quarterback questions approaching summer workouts. In fact, less than half of the league's teams have an announced starter at the key position. A consideration for Golson is picking a scheme that appeals to him. One could assume he may prefer a system similar to what he operated under at Notre Dame, but who's to say he doesn't prefer something different altogether? Complicating the waters may be the injection of several new, and some unproven in the SEC, offensive coordinators in the league.
Another consideration for Golson may be simple roster math. For example, he may prefer Cam Cameron's pro-style offense at LSU, but will he want to compete with Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris? Golson competed with good quarterbacks for playing time in South Bend, but with only one year of eligibility will he take want to take that risk when he'll have more suitors?
Likewise, there will undoubtedly be considerations for SEC programs too. Even if they have the need, will it be worth potentially jeopardizing team chemistry, or dealing with the SEC front office that could lead to public scrutiny? Is there any realistic SEC landing spot that absolutely needs Golson? I'm not sure.
The speculation is just beginning.