What seemed like an inevitability for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish became a reality Thursday.
Senior quarterback Everett Golson, the same man who led Notre Dame to an undefeated 2012 regular season and a berth in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, announced that he will transfer from the program, per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports. As a graduate transfer, Golson is eligible to play immediately at the FBS level.
With that, the winds of the free-agent quarterback market began howling.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are hoping those winds drive Golson, a native of Myrtle Beach, back to his home state.
A source inside the South Carolina program told Bleacher Report that the school is interested in Golson and that the quarterback's camp has known of its interest since December.
On Friday, 247Sports' Clint Brewster reported that Golson plans visits to South Carolina and Georgia next week. However, any scheduled visit would come as a surprise to the B/R's source, and South Carolina had not been in touch with Golson since he officially announced that he is leaving Notre Dame.
The move would make sense for South Carolina and Golson.
Head coach Steve Spurrier has a three-headed quarterback battle on his hands that involves junior Perry Orth, sophomore Connor Mitch and freshman Michael Scarnecchia. Mitch, the likely leader exiting spring practice, is the most experienced of the trio with just six career passing attempts.
South Carolina's campus in Columbia is 152 miles from Golson's home in Myrtle Beach, where he threw for 11,663 yards and 151 touchdowns at Myrtle Beach High School.
Golson, a former 4-star prospect in the class of 2011, wanted to leave home during his high school recruitment. That could still be the case as the 6'0", 200-pounder looks for a new home this offseason, according to the source.
South Carolina has already lost 11 scholarship players to transfer or dismissal this offseason and, as The State's Josh Kendall pointed out in February, will enter the 2015 campaign incredibly inexperienced:
Despite that roster attrition, it might be a challenge for South Carolina to find room for Golson if there's mutual interest.
There's certainly interest from South Carolina's players. As CollegeSpun.com pointed out, linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams sent a tweet Thursday in an attempt to lure Golson to Columbia. He has since deleted the tweet.
Golson's season-long suspension for academic misconduct could be a massive roadblock for Golson if he intends to transfer to South Carolina or any SEC school.
As Bleacher Report first reported in January when the Golson rumors first kicked up, the new SEC graduate transfer bylaw, which the conference enacted on May 30, 2014, has a specific statute that prevents one-year graduate transfers who have been subject to official discipline by their previous school from transferring in.
Bylaw 188.8.131.52 (d), which the SEC office sent to Bleacher Report in January, states: "The student-athlete has not been subject to official university or athletics department disciplinary action at any time during enrollment at any previous collegiate institution (excluding limited discipline applied by a sports team)."
As is the case with all SEC bylaws, there is a waiver process in place.
Could Golson get a waiver?
The answer is a soft "maybe."
It didn't work for basketball player Eric McKnight last summer.
The former Florida Gulf Coast graduate transfer wanted to head to Tennessee last summer, but according to Ben Frederickson of KnoxNews.com, he was not allowed to enroll—potentially due to "limited discipline issues." He later transferred to Long Beach State.
Every case is different, and Golson's comeback and eventual graduation from Notre Dame could certainly mitigate any problems that arise from his season-long absence in 2013.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.
Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.