Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly is spoiled with the dilemma of deciding which of his skilled quarterbacks should be his starter—sophomore Everett Golson or junior Andrew Hendrix.
Kelly’s decision was cut down from three players to two last May, when Kelly's third quarterback, Tommy Rees, was arrested for four misdemeanors. This incident got Rees suspended from Notre Dame’s opening game against Navy (via espn.com).
Missing the opening game could be detrimental to Rees’ chances at the starting quarterback position. Kelly made it clear that he will have his eyes open for their starting quarterback during their game against Navy.
“If we get the guy and he starts against Navy and he doesn't play very well, I don't want him to start next week, nor do you,” said Kelly in a press conference (via UND.com).
With Hendrix and Golson splitting reps and snaps, the battle for the starting position against Navy is close. Both quarterbacks are aware that a strong performance in their opener against Navy is their first step toward solidifying themselves as the starting quarterback.
So which of the two quarterbacks have the most to prove right now?
Everett Golson (Sophomore)
Having yet to see any game action during the season, Golson has to prove that he has what it takes to secure the starting position. Unfortunately, his first college football outing will also be his most important.
Golson is going to need to prove that he is a natural in his first game. If not, Kelly could easily drop him to the bottom of the barrel for being young and experienced.
Despite his young age, Golson has had tremendous success follow him through his time at Myrtle Beach High School. He was ranked sixth all-time in national high school history with 151 career touchdown passes—finishing 44-5 (via UND.com).
If Golson can continue to throw long and make smart passes, he could have Kelly believing he is a prodigy.
Andrew Hendrix (Junior)
Hendrix played in five games for Notre Dame last season—accumulating 249 passing yards and 162 rushing yards.
Most notable was his performance against Air Force, a game in which he executed a 78-yard run (via UND.com).
Hendrix does not seem too worried about the competition.
"As long as I focus on what I can do being the best me that I possibly can. At the end of the day, if that's not enough, that's not enough," Hendrix said (via USA Today).
Coach Kelly's position on the issue frequently bobbles from having someone in mind for the starter to splitting their time evenly.
“Ideally, I'm like everybody else in this room. I'd like to have one quarterback and have him be the guy, but we won't know until we get out there and put the pads on, get live action and see how these guys react to those scenarios and situations,” said Kelly in a press conference (via UND.com). “I think everything's on the table.”
It is only a matter of time before one of the quarterbacks does something to stand out and secure the starting position.