Even before Charlie Weis was formally introduced to the world Friday as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, word began to spread that one of his former proteges was potentially interested in following him to Mount Oread.
Dayne Crist is a former five-star prospect from the Class of 2008 and, for the past four years, a quarterback for the University of Notre Dame. After starting the bulk of his junior campaign in 2010, Crist suffered a season-ending knee injury during an Oct. 30 contest with Tulsa.
In stepped freshman Tommy Rees, who helped the Irish to victories in each of their next four games, including a victory over USC during the regular season finale and a 33-17 drubbing of Miami in the Sun Bowl.
The inevitable quarterback controversy followed, and though Crist was named the starter prior to the 2011 season-opener, he played just one half before Head Coach Brian Kelly pulled him in favor of Rees. He served in a reserve capacity the rest of the way, and early this month made it known he planned to transfer.
As Crist did not play as a freshman and will graduate this month from Notre Dame, typical transfer rules do not apply to his case. He will be eligible to compete immediately, allowing him to make the most of his remaining year of eligibility.
To that end, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound gunslinger worked quickly to identify potential landing spots, and once Weis was hired at Kansas the Jayhawks immediately garnered a spot on the list.
Saturday, Crist arrived in Lawrence, Kan. for an official visit, and was pleasantly surprised by what he found.
"I had heard great things obviously about Lawrence before going there, and obviously I had never been," he said. "It was excited for me to check everything out and talk with Coach Weis and reconnect there."
The opportunity to possibly reunite with Weis is unquestionably a big draw. He was first recruited to Notre Dame by the former Fighting Irish head coach, and grew under his tutelage for two seasons before Weis was let go following the 2009 season.
Wherever he lands, Crist explained, the program will have to meet two key criteria. It will have to provide him with the opportunity to play immediately, and not just play, but play successfully.
Kansas, it seems, fits the bill.
"If I didn't think that they couldn't fit those two (criteria) fully, I wouldn't have wasted Coach Weis' time or my own," Crist said, simply.
Another notch in the Jayhawks' favor is the hiring of Ron Powlus as the program's new quarterbacks coach; a move which was announced Tuesday.
Powlus, himself a former Notre Dame quarterback, played a big role in landing Crist the first time around.
"We had a great relationship," Crist said. "He was another guy recruiting me at Notre Dame. He coached me for two years and has been supportive throughout."
Now, the decision looms. After returning from a visit to the University of Delaware on Tuesday, he'll have a few days of rest before heading to Wisconsin to get a look at what the Badgers have to offer.
"From there, we're still kind of figuring everything out," Crist said. "I want to make sure I have all the information before making a decision that will ultimately affect the rest of my life."
Fans should stay tuned, as a choice will be made soon.
"Not a specific date, but it will happen within the next week or so," Crist said. "It won't go past Christmas, that's for sure."