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Malik Zaire Tells Fox Sports He Plans to Transfer to Florida

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Malik Zaire #8 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on against the Virginia Cavaliers in the third quarter at Scott Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won, 34-27. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire told Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports on Saturday that he intends to join the Florida Gators.

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

Spoke to Malik Zaire. He told me he expects to head to #UF on Wednesday & said he's very excited about the opportunity to play in the SEC.

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

#UF is getting a dynamic QB in Zaire>He's a terrific runner w/ a good arm. Questions w/ him: consistency & how fast can he grasp new system? https://t.co/gQX2b0ZVKY

On Saturday, Zaire spoke with 247Sports' Luke Stammpini (h/t Thomas Goldkamp) about his upcoming trip to Florida.

"I go down there Wednesday and kind of just see everything and tour everything and set some stuff up," he said. "Just try to ingrain myself on being a Gator. Excited for the opportunity and eager to get there.

"I'm going down there and just seeing things. Just sit down with coach [Jim McElwain] and be able to just see everything. Just one step at a time."

Added Zaire:

"You just want to be able to be a part of something special. You're playing in basically like a minor league from the league. For me, I didn't want the challenge to dissipate at the end of the day. Coming from Notre Dame, you're playing top games every week, and I wanted to continue that trend. I didn't want to run from the challenge, I wanted to embrace the challenge."

With the Gators, Zaire will be the frontrunner to earn the starting gig, though he'll compete with redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks and Luke Del Rio. As a graduate transfer, Zaire will be eligible to play immediately.

His transfer to the Gators was previously in question, however, because of an SEC rule that stated schools could not sign a graduate transfer for three years if previous graduate transfers didn't meet academic standards.

That penalty was reduced to one year Friday, however, per Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel. Florida had two graduate transfers—Mason Halter and Anthony Harrell—who failed to meet academic standards two years ago, which prevented the Gators from bringing Zaire aboard before the SEC changed the rule.

Malik Zaire @MalikZaire8

Let's go!!!!!!!!!!

Zaire won the starting job at Notre Dame before the 2015 season, but his season ended after just two games because of an ankle injury. Last year, he spent most of the season on the sideline behind eventual Cleveland Browns draft pick DeShone Kizer.

In three seasons with Notre Dame, Zaire threw for 816 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions while rushing for 324 yards and another two scores.

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