Following the shocking loss of starting quarterback Everett Golson due to academic improprieties, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly found himself in the unexpected situation of needing to find a new starter under center.
He had seniors Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and freshman Malik Zaire to choose from, and during a speech in Grand Rapids he informed the audience that he would be going with the man with 18 career starts under his belt.
Without needing any sort of training camp battle, Kelly has officially named Tommy Rees the starting Fighting Irish quarterback for the 2013 season. Hendrix and Zaire may see time in a change-of-pace capacity.
“We always move forward,” Kelly said. “I don’t live in the past, and I don’t spend too much time in the future. I live in the present, and in the present, we have Tommy Rees. We have Tommy Rees, who is an established player, and he will be our starter. We think Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire can contribute, but Tommy will be our starter.”
Golson by no means dominated during the team’s 12-0 regular season run and subsequent berth in the national championship game. He only threw 12 touchdown passes all year, compared to six interceptions on only 58.8 percent passing — and that was with superstar tight end Tyler Eifert and running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.
All three have left South Bend, and the hope was that Golson and his immense talent would take a leap to the next level. Instead, it will be Rees’ responsibility to try to lead this team to another double-digit win season, in spite of the fact that he was not deemed good enough to beat out a redshirt freshman a year ago.