The inevitable quarterback controversy awaiting Notre Dame in 2014 just experienced its first significant plot twist.
DeShone Kizer, a 4-Star quarterback out of Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio, announced his commitment to Notre Dame via his Twitter account.
I am privileged to say that I will be continuing my Fighting Irish tradition by playing football at the University of Notre Dame! #CCHStoND
— DeShone Kizer (@Dkizer_14) June 11, 2013
Kizer selected the Irish over offers from Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and Louisville, among others.
The process of Notre Dame's recruitment of the 6'4", 205-pound dual-threat quarterback developed in rapid fashion, as the Irish didn't extend Kizer a scholarship offer until early last week. He and his family then visited campus on June 9, followed by a commitment just two days later.
Notre Dame's decision to pursue Kizer arrived following the news of incumbent starting quarterback Everett Golson's dismissal from the university, which resulted in the Irish's dire need for a quarterback in the 2014 class.
And because Notre Dame lost out on coveted pro-style quarterback Kyle Allen—the Scottsdale, Ariz., native was scheduled to visit campus on Monday, but reneged on that visit following his commitment to Texas A&M—head coach Brian Kelly was forced to move quickly on securing the services of a different quarterback.
Should Kizer enroll at Notre Dame, he would join Malik Zaire and any other quarterbacks who join the Irish's 2014 class in the race for the starting role in 2014.
It's extraordinarily early to be contemplating the 2014 season, though the seemingly endless possibilities surrounding the quarterback position is too appealing to ignore.
At the very least, Kizer will provide a viable option as a backup to Zaire.
However, that claim relies on the assumption that Kelly will play Zaire in some capacity during the 2013 season (I wrote in support of Zaire last week, though that's a conversation for a different post).
Either way you frame it, depth at the quarterback position was and continues to be the Irish's most pressing recruiting need.
For argument's sake, let's assume that Zaire plays in a limited role during the 2013 season, gaining a minimal amount of experience in the process. Should that be the case, Kizer would arrive at Notre Dame as a legitimate contender in the starting quarterback derby.
Since arriving at Notre Dame, Kelly has stated his desire to have competition within the ranks, even at positions with a perceived established starter.
Per Scout.com, Kizer is a profoundly cerebral player and leader, which will only aid in his cause.
"Great sized kid with a good frame. Is mobile, athletic and, while not a burner speed wise, can make plays with his feet. Is very in command on the field, shows good intelligence, leadership, understanding of the game and decision making. Efficient and takes care of the ball. Has to polish up mechanics and shorten release along with continuing to be more consistent with accuracy. Has the arm to make the throws and has good touch as well."
The signs point to Kizer grasping the playbook and the mental aspect of the game rather quickly, just as Zaire, a fellow Ohio native, has done during his first five months on campus.
Now, that's no guarantee that Kizer will arrive at Notre Dame as presumed favorite to win the job by any means. It's simply a positive sign that Zaire will be pushed by the freshman-to-be during 2014 fall camp. And should Golson make a return to Notre Dame, another dimension of competition would be added to the fray.
Either way you frame it, the Irish are on the fast track to reestablishing depth at a position that was stocked with a wealth of talent as recently as the most recent Blue-Gold Game.
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