First of Three

Notre Dame received its mandatory quarterback pledge for the 2014 recruiting cycle Tuesday afternoon when Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic star DeShone Kizer chose South Bend as his collegiate home. Kizer though is just the first of three mandatory quarterback prospects the Irish need…over the next two recruiting cycles.

Crisis averted…we think.

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.

Upon Arrival

Below is a look at the best-case scenario for the 2014 Irish quarterback unit when Kizer hits campus next season.

Likely 5th-Year: Current senior Andrew Hendrix. I had Hendrix pegged for a fifth season before the expulsion of Everett Golson. Now presented the opportunity to revive his collegiate career, Hendrix can make himself a necessity rather than luxury backup for the staff with a strong effort in 2013.

Seniors (Eligible through 2015): Expelled junior (redshirt-sophomore) Everett Golson is expected to return to the University for the spring semester.

Sophomore (or redshirt-freshman): January enrollee Malik Zaire is expected to play this season in the wake of Golson's expulsion, thus setting his eligibility clock through the 2016 season. Should Zaire struggle in 2013 as a true freshman, and assuming a return by Golson and Hendrix for 2014, its not out of the question that Zaire be withheld from action as a sophomore, thus preserving a year of eligibility anyway. (If Zaire plays well in 2013, there's little chance of this scenario.)

2014 Freshman: FOX Sports NEXT No. 15 ranked QB prospect, DeShone Kizer

2015 Outlook: Golson (final season), Zaire (eligible through 2016 or 2017 pending this fall), Kizer (likely eligible through 2018 after 2014 redshirt), and by necessity, either another 2014 pledge to join Kizer or two quarterback pledges for 2015.

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:

The First Five Fit -- a look at pledges Greer Martini, Justin Brent, Jimmy Byrne, Jay Hayes, and Andrew Trumbetti.

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.)

Alex Bars: Filled, if Not Finished Top Stories