Tommy Rees' role as starting quarterback for Notre Dame appeared to be over once Everett Golson took the reins in 2012.
After all, Rees was coming off a campaign in which he committed 19 turnovers (14 interceptions, five fumbles). He was also suspended for the 2012 opener after being arrested on charges of misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor at an off-campus party.
It didn't help when Golson blew up in 2012, compiling 18 touchdowns (12 passing, six rushing) to six interceptions as he led the Fighting Irish to the BCS National Championship Game.
However, in a sudden turn of events, Golson will miss at least the fall semester this year after academic misconduct. It has opened the door back up for Rees.
In Rees' final season at Notre Dame, he has an opportunity that doesn't come around very often. He has an opportunity to lead a program that is coming off a trip to the national championship game.
Of course, Rees did have a hand in Notre Dame's championship run last season, too. He played a key role in four of Notre Dame's victories when Golson was struggling or injured. That included going 4-of-4 for 43 yards and a touchdown down the stretch in the 20-13 overtime victory against Stanford in October.
Rees said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press, via SI.com:
Whenever my time came, I wanted to be ready to make the most of it. I never really anticipated things working out like this. But I'm definitely excited.
The key for Rees, of course, will be limiting his mistakes with the pigskin. Even with his performance last season, he tossed two interceptions in 59 pass attempts. That's one pick every 29.5 pass attempts. Interestingly enough, he averaged one interception every 29.4 pass attempts in his rough 2011 campaign.
Rees has lost a formidable weapon in tight end Tyler Eifert this offseason, but he still has some targets to throw to, as well as some intriguing options in the backfield to take some pressure off him.
Ultimately, it will be up to him to bring it all together. Few get a second chance like this.