Notre Dame’s task of returning to the BCS National Championship Game is almost impossible now that starting quarterback Everett Golson is no longer enrolled at the university, according to Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune:
While there was some confusion about how the team’s top quarterback could leave, Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Golson is not enrolled at the school anymore because of academic issues. It is unknown if he will be eligible to return if he tries to be reinstated:
If Golson doesn’t step back on the field for the Fighting Irish and return to the classroom soon, all hope of Notre Dame replicating last year’s success will be gone.
Golson was scheduled to be a sophomore this upcoming season after dominating as a redshirt freshman in 2012, throwing for 2,405 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions with 298 yards rushing and six TDs on the ground.
Golson was a statistical marvel for the Irish last year. Furthermore, his ability to get out of trouble using his feet and make smart decisions with the football helped lead the team to an amazing 12-1 record and to the national championship game.
Now the Fighting Irish will have to lean on senior Tommy Rees.
Rees played sparingly in 2012 when Golson struggled, but the freshman won the job outright and Rees was relegated to backup duty. With the team needing a starter because of Golson’s reported academic issues, Rees will be asked to step up once again.
Head coach Brian Kelly will need to convince Rees that the team is better off with him under center and try to channel the player many expected he could become after he started in 2011.
Rees threw for 2,871 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions two years ago. Since freshman Gunner Kiel transferred to Cincinnati, the pressure is squarely on Rees' shoulders.
However, he lacks the mobility that Golson provided and the arm strength of the top players. Unless he transforms into one of the top pocket quarterbacks in the college ranks, the Fighting Irish will have to lean heavily on their running game. That will be a tall order, as top running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood have graduated.
The lack of an established run game coupled with the departure of Golson has doomed Notre Dame’s chances of returning to the national championship.
The Fighting Irish are in serious trouble.