And he hasn't taken a hit, at least not one with bad intentions behind it.
Donned with an omnipresent red jersey signifying protection from harm at the hands of his defensive teammates, Golson will absorb his first hit and subsequently, be tackled at some point in the first half of Saturday's season-opening contest against Rice -- it will be the first time since he endured several of both in a BCS Championship Game loss to Alabama nearly 21 months prior.
His pride has since absorbed many, his body none.
"We need to be cognizant of that fact," said head coach Brian Kelly of Golson's extended layoff. "This will be his first game since playing against Alabama. We need to get him into the game. Let's have some success early on with him, get him into the flow of the game. Once he starts to get comfortable playing the game at fast pace, then we just call the game like we normally would, but I think we need to have to get him off to a fast start."
Golson will continue to prepare unfettered by heavy hands and shoulder pads. He's too valuable to lose in a practice rep to an eager blitzing 'backer or scout teamer that doesn't know anything less than full speed.
"He'll keep that red jersey on," said Kelly of game week preparations. "We feel like when it comes to the quarterback on our option plays and such, he's got a pretty good idea of what we except from him in terms of taking on contact."
Spread the wealth -- by necessity and designAdd sophomore Corey Robinson to the growing list of wide receiver casualties, now down three from its group since training camp began. Robinson's classmate Torii Hunter has been out for the bulk of August with a severe groin injury, he's expected back by the time the team concludes it's first bye week (September 20) if not sooner.
"I think Torii Hunter is ahead of progress in terms of where we thought he would be," said Kelly. "He was on our zero gravity machine, and he's able to run at 20 to 30 percent of his body weight on our treadmill, which is a really good sign, so I think he's ahead of schedule from what we thought. Maybe he runs next week, and we will see where we are in Purdue week, but I would say he's probably ahead of schedule."
Out indefinitely is suspended senior DaVaris Daniels. Not out, but nowhere near full strength is Robinson, who broke his hand last week.
"He had a fracture," said Kelly. "He had a pin placed in there on Friday, and he was back at practice yesterday catching the football. So he is a 'go' for Saturday."
With Robinson's effectiveness in question, true freshman Justin Brent could improve from de facto No. 6 status to No. 5. If another receiver goes down Saturday, Brent's fellow freshman Corey Holmes could be pressed into immediate action. Holmes was the unofficial "No. 9" receiver when camp began on August 4.
Kelly though stated Tuesday that Irish pass-catchers will come from myriad position groups this fall.
"I think you'll see a different dynamic with this offense," Kelly said when asked about a 'go-to' receiver. "You're going to see four or five, six guys. The running backs will be much more involved in catching the ball as well. That's going to really show itself across the board, more so than one featured guy. You're going to see a lot more catches across the board with a number of receivers."