Notre Dame starting quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested on charges of public intoxication and battery of a law enforcement officer among others charges. If the handling of the Michael Floyd DUI last season is any indication of how Notre Dame will “internally handle” this incident then it very well could be that Rees will spend part if not all of the season riding the pine.
His vacancy at the quarterback position is a golden opportunity for the three other Fighting Irish quarterbacks on the depth chart: Everett Golson, Andrew Hendrix, and Gunner Kiel. Lets take a look at each of the candidates and see who would be the most suitable replacement.
One of the top prospects in the country comes to South Bend as arguably Brian Kelly’s best recruiting coup ever. Kiel has tremendous upside with his accuracy, field vision, and decision making making him a serious threat. freshman a real threat. Also he is head and shoulders above his rivals standing at 2 inches taller in height.
Kiel may be too inexperienced to get any real action this season. His play was limited in the spring game as the freshman passed for only 57 yards on 10 attempts. Coach Kelly is in no hurry to place Kiel under center this season. “But right now I think he just has to start understanding the jump between high school and college. It's not an easy jump, but I think that he can definitely do it and it'll just be about him developing more in his future."
Redshirt freshman Golson is very much in the mix. He is prized for his ball release, arm strength and speed. In the annual spring game Golson proved his mettle as the standout quarterback throwing for 120 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers. He was the only QB with no turnovers that day.
In spite of his impressive numbers Kelly was dissatisfied with Golson’s performance. He feels that the QB needs more work to prove himself as a leader of the Blue and Gold offense. “Quarterback is an art and a science,” Kelly said. “He has the art part down. It is the science and consistency he needs. The stats really don’t mean anything to me. What I did not like is that he has to get the plays in quicker, he has to recognize the signaling or else we are going to get flags thrown all over the place.”
The lone sophomore of the group, Hendrix comes into the season as the seasoned professional. He started last season on the scout team but was promoted to back up midseason after the injury to Dayne Crist. He sparked a late Notre Dame comeback against no. 4 Stanford in a losing effort with 192 yards and one touchdown in the air along with one touchdown on the ground. Hendrix is a very dangerous weapon for the Fighting Irish with his superior speed, strength, and intelligence.
Hendrix is still unproven though. In spite of showing flashes of greatness at the quarterbacking position, he only attempted 18 passes for 249 yards and one interception all of last season. The second year player is a wildcard with his inconsistency as he threw for an interception on 59 yards passing in the spring game and was never quite in sync with his receivers.
Brian Kelly still is far from choosing a starting quarterback. A decision made even more difficult with Rees’ off the field problems. He has even made allusions to an offense run with multiple quarterbacks. One thing is for certain however. This competition for the starting job will be an exciting one for Fighting Irish fans to follow.
Here is a look at Golson, Kiel, and Hendrix in action: