Notre Dame football has tapped Everett Golson to be the starting quarterback for the 2014 NCAA season.
"Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly took 11 preseason practices to reach a decision, but as of this afternoon, his mind is made up: senior Everett Golson will lead the Irish as starting quarterback in just two weeks against Rice University.
"'Generally, when you look at making that decision, I'm using January through right now as the basis,' Kelly explained. 'I looked at winter workouts, how he handled himself with the team, his spring season, his leadership in the summer and then camp here. I think he's put himself in the position to get that opportunity to be our starter against Rice.'
"Kelly made the decision between Golson and Malik Zaire following a months-long contest between the two quarterbacks. The head coach cited Golson's leadership and big-picture understanding of the game as the two factors that ultimately gave him the upper hand.
"'There was a competition until I made that decision and there will still be competition,' Kelly said. 'This is a merit-based situation. We've got to win. Everett knows that.'
"Golson is well aware of the pressures associated with starting. Two years ago, he says he viewed the news as an accomplishment. Now, he knows it's just a step before continuing his preparation.
THIS JUST IN: Notre Dame HC Brian Kelly announces that Everett Golson has won starting QB job. pic.twitter.com/OQi98VVliF— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 13, 2014
"'There's a heightened responsibility on my part,' Golson said. 'It's my job to get these guys right on the offense and to lead this team. This job is not something solid. If you come out and play bad in week one, it's up for grabs. You have to know that going into it, so I've got to do the best I can to prepare.'
"Golson will take the field with the Irish Aug. 30 in the home opener against Rice at 3:30 p.m."
ESPN's Matt Fortuna added more details about the development:
"Golson, who had beaten out three other quarterbacks in 2012 to earn the starting job as a redshirt freshman, started 11 games two years ago, leading the Fighting Irish to the BCS national title game, where they lost to (the) Alabama (Crimson Tide). Golson completed better than 58 percent of his passes in 2012 for 2,405 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. He added 298 rushing yards and six more scores.
"The 6-foot, 200-pound Golson was suspended from school in the fall of 2013 for what he said was 'poor academic judgment.' The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, native spent much of his exile in San Diego, training with quarterback specialist George Whitfield, Jr.
"Kelly said he delivered the verdict to both Golson and Zaire on Wednesday morning, with Zaire providing the 'right' answer by not being happy about it.
"Golson had little reaction, Kelly said, with the coach describing his starter's demeanor as: 'matter of fact. OK, Coach.'
"When asked later in the day whether he had any doubt, Golson responded, 'I don't think I prepared like a backup.'
"I don't know if I'd call it a relief. I think it's a heightened responsibility on my part,' he added."