After sitting out the 2013 college football season, Everett Golson is being called upon to make a big impact for the Irish this year.
Last May the Irish received a major blow. Their starting quarterback, who led them to an appearance in the national championship game, had been suspended from the university.
During his time away from the team, Golson trained with one of the most renowned quarterback coaches in the country, George Whitfield. While he trained, his former team went through a disappointing season, finishing 9-4.
The success of Notre Dame this season hinges on one question: can Everett Golson be successful as a starter after a year away from football?
As a starter, Golson proved that he can win games after finishing the 2012 season with a 12-1 record. His numbers were nothing stellar as he finished the season with a quarterback rating of 131.0 while completing 58.8 percent of his passes. According to ESPN, these numbers ranked him 65th and 74th in the nation respectively.
However, these numbers are not indicative of Golson’s intangibles. His knack for keeping plays alive along with his efficiency with the football made him successful as a starter. Golson is a legitimate threat on the ground and only threw six interceptions in his first year as a starter.
The Irish will need better numbers from him this year, and based on the way he handled himself during his time away they should expect to get it. Golson trained with George Whitfield, who has a track record of training successful quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger. If Whitfield can have this type of success with Golson, he could be a legitimate threat to win the Heisman Trophy in the upcoming season.
Golson’s transition back to starting should be made easier by the fact that Notre Dame returns many of its weapons on offense. With a stable of running backs and a deep bunch of wide receivers, there will be many weapons for Golson to work with.
Notre Dame has the pieces to make a run at a national championship. If Golson can improve on the success he had as a starter in 2012, the Irish could be a team to watch out for in 2014.