Zaire counting down the days

With his arrival to Notre Dame only four weeks away Malik Zaire is counting down the days when he'll put high school behind and tackle the challenges of being a student athlete at Notre Dame. IrishEyes.com caught up with Zaire in our latest update.

While many high school athletes look forward to a break for the holidays, Irish pledge Malik Zaire is counting down his final days of high school and official arrival on the campus of Notre Dame.

"This is my last week of high school," said Zaire. "I'm not nervous, just a little excited."

As an early enrollee, Zaire received his in-home visit from Irish head coach Brian Kelly last week.

"Coach Kelly visited last Thursday along with (assistant) coach (Chuck) Martin," said Zaire. "It was really nice as he visited my school and met with some of my teachers and friends before we went home for dinner.

"It was nice as there are a lot of Notre Dame fan's at Alter so a lot of people were watching for him and wanting to meet him. It was a special thing for me to have him come here and make himself so available, and Coach Kelly was really nice about taking pictures and made himself available to most of my classmates and the other students. We had a real good time."

At dinner, the mood was joyful as Zaire, Kelly and Martin talked about several subjects.

"At dinner were my mother, grandparents and some other family members," said Zaire. "There were also a few close friends so it wasn't a giant gathering. We talked a lot about what was happening currently and about all the awards he's attended and how they are getting ready for Alabama."

One question often asked about Zaire is if he has any concerns watching the success of another young quarterback already on the field for the Irish in Everett Golson. The southpaw signal caller knows all about waiting his turn.

"I'm not at all concerned," said Zaire. "I think if there was a concern I probably wouldn't be going in early to compete for a spot. As long as I have the confidence from the coaches there and there is a competition in the spring and in the fall, then I'm still arm up and ready to compete for the job.

"I've learned here at Alter that just watching a lot of what is going on and what happens in terms of waiting your turn has made me more mentally tough. During my sophomore year it kept me in the game mentally and despite not being physically out there, I learned a lot about the game as I took a lot of mental reps.

"Even though I was not on the field playing those mental reps helped me a lot during my junior and senior years and that is what I'm going to take to Notre Dame as I'll make every rep count."

While Zaire claims his nerves are in check, he knows big changes are ahead of him in a few weeks.

"I'm just staying positive about everything and trying to get myself ready for the challenges Notre Dame will bring," said Zaire. "It is going to be different being away from home and being away from those I've been going to school with most of my life. I feel as long as I stay positive about things and available to meet other people, which I don't see as a problem, I should be ok.

"I'm to move in January 12th so I've still got some time after the Marine game. I leave for the game on December 30th and come back after the game on the 5th of January. So I'll still have a few days to prepare."

Like most of his future teammates the success of the Irish on the field this season has left Zaire proud and excited.

"Definitely I'm nothing but proud about the team's success," said Zaire. "But it's really not about me as it's all about the guys who did the work to get there. I'm just proud to be part of it all."


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories