Zaire Leading the Way

The annual Blue Gold game provided future Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire another chance to rally the troops and further his leadership role within the class of 2013. caught up with Zaire for a look back at his latest trip to campus.

Notre Dame fans are learning quickly that Malik Zaire is a leader capable of bringing the ever-growing class of 2013 together as one.

Zaire, who gave the Irish his pledge one month ago, returned to campus on Saturday with his grandparents and came away knowing his decision to pledge Irish was the right one.

"The weekend was great," said an excited Zaire about his trip back to Notre Dame. "I got a chance to see a lot of the commits and we got another offensive lineman committed making the O-Line all set for the next year. I think that is a big thing for this class."

The last time Zaire stepped on campus he was a recruit the Irish coaching staff was working on. This time Zaire felt the difference.

"It was a little bit different from my last visit," said Zaire. "It went a lot better as the fans reacted well not only to be but to all of the commits. They expressed how they like our class and I really like our class as it is only getting stronger."

While several of his future teammates have expressed how the Kettering, Ohio quarterbacks personality has begun to rub off on them, Zaire takes pride in taking a leadership role within the group.

"I think it's important to be a leader especially being the quarterback in the group," explained Zaire. "I think it is a big leadership responsibility and I just try to carry that through with those committed and those who are thinking about Notre Dame.

"I just try to inform them that if Notre Dame wants you it's a special thing because they don't want everybody because they recruit nationally. I try to give everybody a good vibe because that is what I definitely feel with this group because this is going to make our class stronger going into Notre Dame.

"Not only is it going to help our class it's going to be contagious toward the team and help the team chemistry we have. I think we can win a lot of games off of that."

Game Day and Beyond

With Irish fans glued on the play of the quarterbacks, Zaire was looking at the Irish for the first time imagining himself behind center. What did he take away from the game?

"I saw a lot of myself running that offense," said Zaire. "I think a lot of the things they do we do at my high school as far as footwork and play development. I think the quarterbacks being live during the game did a good job on certain aspects but it also showed they need to work on a few things in terms of turnovers and just keeping the ball and throwing down field.

"Overall, I felt everyone did a pretty good job starting off and I think Everett (Golson) did a really good job. Moving forward I know the coaches are going to try and make the best decision they can on who they want to start. But for the most part it was a good showing, a good beginning and I hope they pick it up in the fall."

As for the turnovers Zaire understands the frustrations fans must feel.

"It was frustrating," said Zaire. "You see different things on the field that you feel should have been different. However, at the same time it was a major learning experience for those guys and I feel during the game they started to get a little more comfortable and started making a little bit better decisions. It's painful for all quarterbacks to watch the ball get turned over but I think they recovered well from it."

Not only did Zaire and his future teammates go away feeling good about the thoughts of the coaches but also the fans.

"I got a lot of positive feelings not only from the coaches but also the fans and players in general," he said. "I feel I'm bonding well with the players on the team already and not just the players in my recruiting class.

"I think that's pretty cool and I just feel like this team is a special team, not just my class but the entire team. The team was so open and that's so awesome as they are open not just to the players already there but also to those who are the committed.

"And the coaches and how they interact with us have just been very welcoming and genuine guys that are going to make this team a national championship contender."

Building a strong bond among the members of the class has become a rallying point for Zaire after myriad issues among the 2012 Irish recruiting class.

"I think it is important to stay in contact with everybody," said Zaire. "I think that is only going to strengthen our relationships so we don't have things like de-commitments happen. I don't think it's going to happen with our class, however, I know it happens in all of college football so I try and stay in contact with all the guys because I know it's important to all the guys that once they commit, it is not the end of it for all of us. "

Not only has Zaire received the positive reinforcements about his decision from his mother, he can now also count his grandparents, classmates and friends being sold on his future in South Bend.

"I went up with my grandparents this time and they loved it," said Zaire. "They especially liked the coaches a lot and how they responded to me and the players. They also liked how the coaches talked with them.

"Since I committed I've received a lot of positive feedback from my classmates at school and friends outside of school. They felt it was the right decision for me and they could see my playing there one day. That meant a lot to me and the fact I was confident in my decision just makes me glad I made it." Top Stories