Status Report: The Offensive Backfield

Our final series of spring wrap-up columns examines Notre Dame’s roster with a look at each individual’s status entering the summer months. Is he ascending? Has he stagnated? Did he take a step back?

Everett Golson (QB) – A majority of Irish fans and media (myself included) viewed Golson as a player with one foot in, one foot out entering spring ball. Now it appears he has a leg up on Malik Zaire with the latter forced to make up ground over the summer and early in August Camp. Particularly vexing? None of the above is official, merely a consensus of media opinion. 

Status: Ascending

Malik Zaire (QB) – The Music City Bowl MVP appeared a tick behind Golson at spring’s conclusion, but he’s made up enough ground since last August’s pseudo-competition that head coach Brian Kelly wouldn’t hesitate to call his number should he shine as a leader this summer and between the lines in August Camp.

Status: Stagnant, technically. His game is certainly on the rise.

DeShone Kizer (QB) – Entered spring with no chance to win the starting role (from a media perspective) and/or little chance (from his own head coach’s admission). Kizer’s best chance at playing time next fall – other than as a holder – is a transfer by Golson and subsequent injury to Zaire. Spring 2016 will be crucial to his development.

Status: A Step Back

Montgomery VanGorder (QB) – Preferred walk-on from the 2014 class quietly earned a scholarship before August Camp last season as the program entered the summer with 81 of its allotted 85 spots filled. (Fifth-year senior RB Tyler Plantz, senior defensive back Connor Cavalaris, and senior quarterback Charlie Fiessinger earned the remaining available trio.) VanGorder is a capable No. 4 that will become a capable No. 5 when freshman Brandon Wimbush hits town this summer.

Status: Stagnant

Tarean Folston (RB) – Notre Dame’s No. 1 running back from mid-October onward last fall entered and exited camp as such. He likely put a bit of distance between himself and classmate Greg Bryant in the position’s pecking order but interloper C.J. Prosise is poised to make him work through August Camp.

Status: Stagnant, if you’re a harsh grader

C.J. Prosise (RB/Slot) – Holy Cow. Two Kelly comments – separated by fewer than 35 days -- summarize Prosise’s meteoric rise this spring:

1.) Spring’s outset: “We’re going to evaluate C.J. Prosise at running back.”
2. At the session’s conclusion: “He's a guy that you're going to fear.”

Status: Ascending

Greg Bryant (RB) – Hard to argue he’s not No. 3, or at least 2B. At this point last season, Bryant was a fan and media darling and the Irish brass seemed crazy for keeping him from the field. The good news for Bryant: complete dedication to his craft this summer would likely afford him ample playing time next fall.

Status: A Step Back

Summer Additions: Quarterback Brandon Wimbush; Running Backs Josh Adams and Dexter Williams Top Stories