Former Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire transferring to Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire says he’s going to Florida.
Zaire announced his decision Tuesday on Instagram with a picture of the Gators logo, saying “Official! I couldn’t be happier to be a part of something special! Time to get to work. (hash)Gators.”
A post shared by Malik Zaire (@suppaleak9) on
Florida officials can’t comment on prospective student-athletes until they enroll in school and attend class. Summer B session begins Monday, so the Gators could announce something then.
According to a person familiar with Zaire’s transfer, the left-hander has been accepted into graduate school at Florida and is expected to attend classes next week. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about it publicly.
Zaire is expected to compete for the starting job with redshirt freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask as well as Luke Del Rio, who started six games last season. Zaire missed most of the 2015 season because of a broken ankle and lost his starting job to DeShone Kizer in the 2016 season opener. Zaire threw for 816 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons in South Bend, Indiana.
Zaire delayed an announcement on his future last month, waiting to see if Florida would become an option.
The Gators had been unable to add Zaire because two previous graduate transfers — linebacker Anthony Harrell and offensive lineman Mason Halter — failed to meet academic requirements after transferring to Florida in 2016. That put coach Jim McElwain’s program on probation, unable to add another graduate transfer for a three-year period. The SEC remains the only Power Five conference with that kind of punitive system.
But the Southeastern Conference relaxed its graduate transfer rules earlier this month, reducing the ban from three years to one.
Zaire chose Florida over Wisconsin, Harvard and Texas.
“What you’re constantly trying to do is enhance each position group, whatever that might be,” McElwain said at the SEC spring meetings. “Competition is what breeds quality. So whether it’s (the quarterback position) or whatever one, I’m kind of all for it. I was the guy they always tried to replace every year at Eastern Washington, so I get it.”
- FBS (I-A)
- Florida Gators
- FOX Sports Florida
- FOX Sports Florida - Gators
- Malik Zaire
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish