Notre Dame Football: Predicting QB Depth Chart for Irish's Season Opener
The hottest debate surrounding the Notre Dame football program through the course of the offseason has been who the Irish's starting quarterback will be when the team takes to the pitch at Aviva Stadium on Sept. 1.
I'm here to settle the debate once and for all. I'll be dissecting the quarterback depth chart from the bottom up.
Let's get started.
4. Gunner Kiel (Redshirt)
Brian Kelly achieved, perhaps, his most significant recruiting goal when 5-star prep quarterback Gunner Kiel chose Notre Dame after a circus of a recruitment.
In Kiel's commitment, Kelly brought in the future of his offense. The 6'4", 220-pound Kiel, who committed to Indiana and LSU before settling on the Irish, has all the physical tools to succeed in South Bend.
The Columbus, Ind. native won't be slinging the ball all over the field for the Irish as a freshman, though.
Kiel needs time to adjust to the collegiate game, as he faced what is considered to be "soft" competition during his high school days down in southern Indiana. After all, his home state is known for its basketball, rather than football.
But once the 2012 season comes to a close, expect Kiel to begin his 2013 campaign for starting duties.
3. Andrew Hendrix
At one time, Andrew Hendrix was thought to be the favorite to become Notre Dame's next starting quarterback. However, those rumors seem to have come to an end.
The Cincinnati native showed flashes of brilliance last season against Air Force and Stanford, particularly his ability to escape the pocket and pick up big chunks of yards with his feet.
But the reason Hendrix won't be Notre Dame's starting quarterback in 2012 is his decision-making.
Even though Hendrix had limited practice reps and a lack of true real-time action, he still forced one too many throws during his time on the field.
Don't count Hendrix out of the race, though. Brian Kelly didn't give him playing time last season for no reason.
2. Tommy Rees
To the dismay of many of my readers, I'm predicting that Tommy Rees will be second on the quarterback depth chart this season. Many have expected that he would tumble to third, or possibly fourth.
My guess is that Brian Kelly keeps Rees as the main backup, due to his amount of experience in the system, having started 16 games in his career.
What truly doomed Rees' chances of ever reclaiming Notre Dame's starting quarterback position was his arrest at a house party near campus during the first week of May. Rees faced four charges, one of which was battery of a law enforcement official.
If that incident alone isn't enough to keep Tommy Rees out as starting quarterback, I don't know what is.
1. Everett Golson
This is the moment fans have been waiting for all offseason—the moment in which Everett Golson is anointed as the next starting quarterback at Notre Dame.
Golson, who has been a fan favorite since setting foot on campus in January of 2011, also seems to be Brian Kelly's favorite to win the job.
What truly separates Golson from Hendrix and Rees is twofold. First, Golson has a skill set unmatched by Hendrix or Rees. And second, Golson has a winning pedigree. As a starter at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School, Golson compiled a record of 44-5.
Notre Dame needs a winner, and that's what it will get in Everett Golson.
It's his job to lose now.
As I've stated numerous times in the last few months, Brian Kelly is facing the most significant decision of his coaching career in his choice of a starting quarterback.
He understands that starting Tommy Rees is no longer a realistic option, leaving the door open for Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson.
Could the third-year head coach employ a two-quarterback system? Sure, but that doesn't seem likely.
Kelly needs to choose one guy to run the show and stick with him.
Everett Golson is waiting in the wings.