What will the Notre Dame Fighting Irish be getting in four-star quarterback Malik Zaire in 2013?
With quarterback Everett Golson playing so well and names like Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Gunner Kiel on the depth chart, it may not seem like the Fighting Irish need much help at the quarterback position right now.
When the time comes that there's a vacancy under center for the Irish though, Zaire has what it takes to be a very good college quarterback for head coach Brian Kelly and his program.
Here's my scouting report on the four-star quarterback and a few predictions:
The best way I can describe Zaire as a football player is by telling you that he's a natural.
He has an extremely fluid passing motion, which looks almost effortless, as well as great downhill speed and a long stride as a runner, which make him the perfect duel-threat quarterback.
He's left handed, which adds a different element to his game, and he's got a very strong arm. Zaire easily has one of the strongest arms out of any of the quarterbacks the 2013 class and his fluid motion allows him to throw a very pretty football.
What really sticks out to me are his fundamentals as a quarterback.
His eyes are always up field, both as a passer and a runner, and his footwork is impeccable. He can cut on a dime, throw on the run or just outrun a defender through the gap and into the second level.
The picture below is Zaire on the last step of his drop. You can see his eyes are up field looking for a receiver, he's ready to throw the ball, and his back foot is planted in such a way that allows him to quickly move up in the pocket.
The next picture is a very small detail, but notice how he has great balance and footwork as he steps up and starts his momentum back up into the pocket. Meanwhile, even as he's moving up into the pocket, his eyes are still up field which displays great pocket presence, confidence and awareness.
Finally, he makes his read and throws the ball. Notice how his weight has shifted to his front foot and his shoulders are square, which is great form.
Zaire's fundamentals as a football player are incredible, and he's only a senior in high school.
I can only imagine how much better of a quarterback he can become with the training and coaching he will receive at Notre Dame.
As you can probably tell, I think very highly of Zaire. Not just as a quarterback, but as an all-around football player. He has the fundamentals, technique and abilities that lead me to believe he can be a great college football quarterback, but for now he'll have to wait his turn.
Everett Golson seems to be "the guy" right now and he's only a sophomore, so he should be around for a few more years. When the spot does open up at quarterback though, Zaire has all the talent and skill that would allow him to beat out the likes of Gunner Kiel for the starting position.
His type of athleticism would work well in Kelly's offense and he could very quickly become one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in college football. He's a great runner, his arm strength is excellent and he seems to have a natural feel for the game. It's early yet, but Zaire has the intangibles of an elite college football quarterback.
He'll have to bulk up a little bit more (he's 6'1' and just 185 pounds), but that will come with time spent training at Notre Dame. With a little bit of extra weight, time spent learning the program and patience, I see Zaire being the next starting quarterback of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.