The fact that former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is going to play somewhere other than South Bend in 2017 has been known for months. When he lost the starting quarterback battle to DeShone Kizer it was assumed that Zaire would ultimately spend his final season somewhere other than Notre Dame.
What was unknown for the last several months was where would Zaire spend his final season, but we now know the answer to that question.
Zaire had flirted with several different programs but his final choice came down to Florida and Texas, and the final choice for Zaire was the Gators.
According to ESPN, Zaire will visit Florida on Wednesday in order to finish the transfer process.
“The visit Wednesday is just making sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s, so it’s just everything really solidifying things,” Zaire told ESPN college football reporter Tom VanHaaran. “Making sure it feels how I know it would be of making a home. If everything goes as planned, I’m a Gator, but of course the visit is important to take everything in.”
Zaire will have to compete with former top recruit Feleipe Franks in order to win the starting job. The redshirt freshman was ranked as the No. 57 player in the country according to Rivals, and he seems to have the edge over classmate Kyle Trask and senior Luke Del Rio.
Zaire was a top recruit as well, ranking as the No. 122 player in the country out of Kettering (Ohio) Archbishop Alter in the 2013 class. He started just three games at Notre Dame, but Zaire made a significant impact on those games.
Notre Dame went 3-0 with Zaire as the starter, beating LSU in the 2014 Music City Bowl and then opening the 2015 season with a pair of wins over Texas and LSU. A broken ankle cost him the final 11 games of that season and allowed Kizer to emerge as the programs quarterback.
In Zaire’s three starts the Irish offense averaged 34.3 points per game, 478.7 yards per game and an impressive 6.6 yards per play. Florida averaged just 23.9 points per game, 344.0 yards a game and just 5.2 yards per play.
Zaire completed 69.1-percent of his passes as a starter and had a quarterback rating of 179.12 while adding 199 yards and a score on the ground. Florida’s quarterbacks completed just 58.8-percent of their passes and had a quarterback rating of 123.41 last season with minus-88 rushing yards.