So, Everett Golson is no longer the starting quarterback for Notre Dame.
Fun times in South Bend.
The question now becomes, who is?
Following a trip to the BCS National Championship Game, there are three prime candidates to take over for Golson in 2013-14.
One is a senior with experience.
One is a senior without much experience at all.
And one is a highly-touted freshman.
But enough with the guessing games, here are my top-three candidates to succeed Golson next season.
3. Tommy Rees, Senior
I know what you're saying: "But, Tommy Rees is a senior and he has way more experience!"
I've got news for you, Anderson Cooper: The other candidates on Notre Dame's roster have way more talent.
When given the reins in 2011, Rees was a turnover machine. He tossed 20 touchdowns, but he also threw 14 interceptions and lost five fumbles. On top of that, he averaged a mere 6.7 yards per pass attempt, exemplifying his lack of arm strength.
But, perhaps more important to Rees' status on the depth chart, the 6'2", 210-pounder has never been very mobile. The most yards he gained on the ground in a single game in 2011 was...wait for it...six.
Rees doesn't have the talent to lead the Fighting Irish in 2013. He's also a poor fit for Brian Kelly's spread offense.
Pass (No, not you, Tommy Rees).
2. Malik Zaire, Freshman
Now we're getting somewhere.
I don't expect Malik Zaire to win the starting job outright for 2013, but, as noted by Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, the dual-threat QB has a chance of splitting time with another senior on Notre Dame's roster, based on his mobility and fit in Kelly's system.
The No. 10 dual-threat quarterback in the 2013 class (according to 247Sports.com) has drawn comparisons to Clemson's Tajh Boyd, as a left-handed gunslinger who's a good athlete. His experience in the spread offense helps his case in South Bend.
Zaire also displayed solid accuracy when chased out of the pocket at Archbishop Alter High School in Ohio, as well as the poise, recognition skills and vision to impress early in his career at Notre Dame.
His scouting report on ESPN.com reads: "He is the perfect fit for a spread offense with just enough athleticism to keep defenses honest with his legs and has playmaking skills with his arm."
1. Andrew Hendrix, Senior
Who will receive the most playing time under center for Notre Dame in 2013-14?
Andrew Hendrix has the legs to fit into Kelly's spread offense and has more experience than Zaire.
Yes, he's only tossed 44 passes on the field in his Notre Dame career, but he's been in Notre Dame's system for a while now. He should have an understanding of what Kelly is looking for in his quarterback.
Hendrix rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in 2011, exemplifying the impact he can have on the ground.
Like with Zaire, I don't expect Hendrix to run away with the job, but a two-quarterback system involving dual-threats makes more sense to me than giving Rees another chance.