In an Irish fan's perfect world, Notre Dame will begin the 2014 season with senior Everett Golson returning to battle a pair of battle-tested competitors: 5th-year senior Andrew Hendrix and sophomore Malik Zaire. Add to that mix the program's most recent pledge in four-star Toledo, Ohio product DeShone Kizer, and head coach Brian Kelly can breathe easily -- along with legions of Irish fans -- entering the 2014 season with an enviable quarterback quartet.
Worst case scenario? Golson fails to return, Hendrix begins to attend medical school following graduation next May, and Notre Dame is left with Zaire and the true freshman Kizer heading into a season in which the program will likely be looking to replace five or six members of its defensive front seven plus the all-star left side of its offensive line.
At 6'5" 205 pounds, Kizer gives Kelly a fourth dual-threat prospect to develop next fall (assuming Hendrix returns). A redshirt-season would be ideal for Kizer (another reason Hendrix is essential), not only for his overall development and growth, but to better-tier the unit's eligibility, with Hendrix's expiring in 2014, Golson in 2015, Zaire in 2016, and Kizer in 2018.
If Kizer finishes as the lone quarterback pledge in Kelly's 2014 class, two will be mandatory in 2015 to ensure the position's health after Golson departs. Should Golson not return for the spring semester 2014 as planned, expect Notre Dame to put the full-court press on another dual-threat triggerman throughout January and through National Signing Day. In that scenario, either Kizer or the freshman-to-be-determined would likely be forced into first-year action.
Kizer's pledge is Part One in a three-pledge process over the next two seasons. Decisions made (or already made) by Hendrix and Golson will likely determine the timing of pledges No. 2 and No. 3.
Note: For previous "Recruit Fit" columns covering Notre Dame's 2014 class, click the links below:
Sam Mustipher: Two Down, Two to Go
Nic Weishar: Set, if Necessary
Elijah Hood: Will Youth Be Served?
Quenton Nelson: Three out of Five? (Nelson's review examines the position's evolution during the Kelly era as well.)