Quarterback Everett Golson transferring from Notre Dame

Quarterback Everett Golson informed coach Brian Kelly Thursday morning that he is transferring out of Notre Dame. Golson explained his decision to FOX Sports Thursday in a statement. 

"After much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to graduate from Notre Dame and transfer to another school effective immediately," Golson said.

"I would like to thank everyone at Notre Dame for the opportunity to compete at the highest level of college football, but most importantly to obtain my degree from one of the finest universities in the country. To all the Fighting Irish fans I want to thank you for your support over the past four years and let you know I truly love Notre Dame! To my former teammates, who I will miss tremendously, I wish much success in the future and will be your biggest fan from afar.

"I will have no further comment at this time and ask that you respect my time as I figure out this life changing moment. God has a plan for each of us and I ask for your prayers as I move forward in this new journey in my life!"

The 6-foot, 200-pound senior just took his last final and is set to graduate this semester. He will be eligible to play in 2015. 

In 2012, Golson, a fleet-footed Myrtle Beach, SC, native with a very strong arm, helped lead the Irish to the BCS national title game. Golson, though, had to leave school for the 2013 season while serving an academic suspension before returning to South Bend to win back his starting job. Golson got off to a strong start in the first month of the season, but while injuries rocked the Irish he also struggled with some turnovers, and a team that had been ranked in the top 10 finished 7-5 in the regular season.

Golson’s backup, junior Malik Zaire, started and won Notre Dame’s bowl game, beating LSU and earning Music City Bowl MVP honors. Golson did also play in that game, going 6 of 11 for 90 yards.

In a statement released by the Fighting Irish football program on Twitter, Kelly thanked Golson for his contributions to the football program, pointed out his achievements on and off the field and wished him well.

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Kelly then turned his focus to Notre Dame.

"We, of course, have approached or preparations for the upcoming season with this possibility in mind," he added. "The emergence of Malik Zaire, based on his performance in the Music City Bowl win over LSU, and throughout spring practice, has given our staff supreme confidence that he can lead our team to great success in 2015."

In his South Bend career Golson threw 41 TD passes and 20 INTs, passing for 5,850 yards. In 2014, he did have a solid 29-14 TD-INT ratio while throwing for 3,445 yards and completing 60 percent of his passes. Golson also ran for 14 TDs and 581 yards in his Fighting Irish career.

While there has been much speculation about Golson’s next move, transferring to an SEC school might not be so easy.

According to one SEC compliance official, Golson’s academic suspension in 2013 might hinder his admission to one of that conference’s schools because of SEC Bylaw 14.1.15.1 (d), which states that a student-athlete with less than two years of eligibility left can get financial aid, practice, and compete if, "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)."

Another potential hurdle is the SEC’s Two-Year Eligibility rule, which states:

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Bruce Feldman is a senior college football reporter and columnist for FOXSports.com and FOX Sports 1. He is also a New York Times Bestselling author. His new book, The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks, came out in October, 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BruceFeldmanCFB.