Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2017 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 63 MAY 2017 5 D e S h o n e K i z e r looks the part, h a s t h e a r m strength and pos- sesses many of the traits that NFL teams are looking for in a franchise quarterback. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly just believes Kizer could've used more time in college. "He still should be in college," Kelly said. "But the circum- stances are such that you have to make business decisions. And he felt like it was in his best interest, and I'm going to sup- port him in his deci- sions. "The reality is he needs more football. He needs more time to grow in so many areas, not just on the field but off the field." Those comments by Kelly, made during an April 3 radio interview with SiriusXM, were heavily scruti- nized nationally. Was Kelly hurting Kizer's draft stock by criticizing the readiness of the quarterback who led the Irish the past two seasons? In what's considered a weak quar- terback draft class — headlined by 13-game starter Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina and Clemson's De- shaun Watson — Kizer 's struggles were magnified. His lack of accuracy (58.7 percent completions as a junior) and inability to lead the Irish in the fourth quarter hurt his stock. NFL teams wondered if a quarter- back that went 4-8 in his final college season was worthy of a first-round pick. When asked about Kelly's com- ments, Kizer largely agreed with his head coach during an April 11 inter- view on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "I took it as the truth. I took it as reality," Kizer said of Kelly's com- ments. "Timing is everything on the comment, and obviously as my name continues to grow as we get closer to the draft, anything and everything that looks negative is going to be por- trayed as negative. "For me, it's honestly the truth. I had two more years available. I'm only 21 years of age. There is a lot of growth for me. There's a lot of growth for everyone in this draft." The consensus among NFL ana- lysts and draft evaluators is that Kizer needs a year or two on the bench to learn behind a veteran quarterback. Quarterbacks that aren't ready to start as rookies typically don't get drafted in the first round. Kizer, whose interviews during his time at Notre Dame were always in- sightful but rarely headline-grabbing, made waves the week before the draft when he compared himself to two of the NFL's best quarterbacks. "Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches," Kizer told USA Today in a story published April 20. "No one else game plans the way I do. No one else prepares the way I do. No one else knows football the way I do. No one else is as big as I am. No one else is as powerful a run- ner as I am. "No one else can do what I can do. And I've truly figured out in this [draft] process, if I can maximize all my potential in every aspect of the game — this is bold — I do have the ability to be the greatest quarter- back to ever play. " I m a g i n e t a k i n g [Tom] Brady's intel- lect and Brady's prep- aration and putting it on a guy with Cam Newton's body. Why can't I be the greatest? The only thing stop- ping me from it is me. That's what's driving me now." Kizer was inter- viewed during the B l u e - G o l d G a m e April 22 and stood by his bold declarations. "When you play a game like this, you're going to try and model your- self after the greats," Kizer said. "It was a comment that I made, and I'm going to stand by it. "Those are people I want to get to. … I would love to have the prepara- tion and exhibit the intellect that a guy like Tom Brady does. So for me, why play this game if you don't want to be the greatest? That's kind of my whole mindset behind the process." His head coach has the same level of faith in him, though Kelly chuck- led when asked what his reaction was to Kizer's lofty statements. "If that's the worst thing he's go- ing to do, most teams will be pretty happy with DeShone," Kelly said. "He's a smart kid. He's not going to embarrass any NFL team that selects him because he handles himself the right way off the field. He'll learn what to say and how to say it." ✦ ON THE IRISH BEAT MATT JONES Staff writer Matt Jones has been with Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 2016. He can be reached at Ready Or Not? DeShone Kizer left two years of eligibility on the table by declaring for the NFL Draft. Many expect him to need a year or two before he's ready to start in the league. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - May 2017 Issue