Analyzing Notre Dame’s quarterback situation for 2013 season

With the transgressions of Everett Golson coming to light over the weekend, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team finds itself without the player under center that helped lead it to a 12-1 record and a spot in the BCS title game.

While speculation abounds that Golson will attempt to re-enroll at Notre Dame for the 2014 season, this predicament presents coach Brian Kelly with the task of finding a new starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

The football season for Andrew Hendrix, left, and Tommy Rees, right, changed drastically now that Everett Golson is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame.

Kelly gradually brought along Golson over the course of last season. Golson was a high-risk, high-reward option under center. The plan was not foolproof, as Kelly needed to insert senior-to-be Tommy Rees into action on multiple occasions.

Rees will be back in South Bend this fall, along with three other quarterbacks who appeared on Notre Dame’s spring roster. Here’s a look at the three front-runners and what each could bring to the table for the Fighting Irish this upcoming season.


Tommy Rees saw plenty of action during his junior campaign, and has appeared in 33 games for Notre Dame over his career. He became an integral part in helping the Fighting Irish preserve their undefeated regular season in 2012, helping lead Notre Dame past Purdue, Michigan, Miami, Stanford and BYU. He was the perfect safety net for the young Golson last season, filling in at quarterback in 11 of the 13 games the Fighting Irish played.

Rees isn’t going to wow anyone with his physical attributes, but his veteran presence and understanding of the offense were the backdrop for a number of key plays for Notre Dame last season, including its overtime victory against Stanford. The Fighting Irish could do a lot worse than having an experienced game-manager like Rees back at quarterback.



Hendrix threw just seven passes and had eight rushing attempts for Notre Dame last season, but will be a senior in 2013 and brings the potential of a different look in the backfield. With Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick – the Fighting Irish’s two leading rushers from a season ago – lost to graduation (Riddick) and an ill-advised jump to the NFL (Wood), there will be more carries available in the backfield. Over the course of Hendrix’s career, he’s been a change-of-pace quarterback, but there is the possibility that using a mobile signal-caller more could be what Kelly and the coaching staff are looking to do. The better likelihood is that Hendrix will remain a backup, only being thrust into action when called upon.


Zaire, a multi-dimensional threat in the same mold as Golson, enrolled at Notre Dame this January to get a jump start on his freshman year. He’s a four-star, left-handed quarterback out of Ohio who most expected to redshirt this season had Golson stayed in school. Whether or not Kelly would want to turn the reigns over to an inexperienced yet talented quarterback (like he did in 2012 with Golson) remains to be seen. Zaire represents the future of the position at Notre Dame, but preserving an extra year of eligibility and rolling with veterans could be what Kelly chooses to do.

As a fan, my vote would be to roll with Rees and let Zaire get a full year under his belt before throwing him into the spotlight. There’s a chance Golson could be back by then, but a little competition never hurt anyone, right?

About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.


  1. Kelly was stupid for not playing Rees at the outset of the third quarter National Championship game. Instead he relied on a kid who isn’t smart enough to stay in school attempt a 2nd half comeback. Notre Dame got what they deserve. The only good news for the 2014 ND is that that ridiculously pathetic Manti Te’o won’t be around. The curse continues.

  2. TigerClaw says:

    Kelly nor Golson was’nt the problem in the BCS game. ND’s weak D was exposed playing against an SEC quality Offense. LSU, aTm’, UGA, USC, UF and Vandy had better Defenses than ND and would have matched up better w/ Bama regardless of how the useless statistics made it look. Check the Ga.Tech(ACC) vs SoCal, Ole Miss vs Pitt, USC vs Mich. Bowl games. ND’s defensive performance against those common opponents won’t wow anyone inside the SEC. The superior talent level of the Southern Schools Defenses are blatantly obvious… U smart enough to comprehend that?!? Rees would have been broken in half … by Mosley and Sunseri!!!

  3. Too bad they don’t have the #1 QB recruit in the country waiting on the sideline…oh wait…they did.

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