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Reports: Malik Zaire Headed to Florida

Former Notre Dame quarterback, Malik Zaire, is heading to the University of Florida to compete for the starting job. The graduate transfer will immediately be thrown into the mix at quarterback. And he joins Luke Del Rio and Feleipe Franks to provide plenty of opportunities on offense for the Gators.

Malik Zaire chose Florida over Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina according to NFL.com.

“You just want to be able to be a part of something special,” Zaire said of the decision. “You’re playing in basically like a minor league from the league. For me, I didn’t want the challenge to dissipate at the end of the day. Coming from Notre Dame, you’re playing top games every week, and I wanted to continue that trend. I didn’t want to run from the challenge, I wanted to embrace the challenge,” via NFL.com.

A challenge is what Zaire wants and that is exactly what he will get at Florida. Especially opening up the 2017 season against Michigan.

The quarterback also made it through a challenge as he considered Florida as a destination. The SEC previously had a graduate transfer rule in place that would not have allowed Zaire to head to Gainesville. But it was overturned, thus allowing him to head south.

On Wednesday, Zaire plans to visit the Gainesville campus and make things official.

“The visit Wednesday is just making sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s, so it’s just everything really solidifying things,” Zaire told ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren. “Making sure it feels how I know it would be of making it a home. If everything goes as planned, I’m a Gator, but of course the visit is important to take everything in,” via ESPN.

The SEC is a conference that provides plenty of challenges on defense, and Zaire will hope to use his dual-threat capability to expose the quickness of those defenses.

How much of a threat will he be if he wins the starting job? All fans have to do is reference his time at Notre Dame. Although Zaire saw limited action in three years for the Fighting Irish, he has a chance to prove himself on one of the biggest college football stages in the country.

Malik Zaire Passing Stats
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Year School Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2014 Notre Dame QB 5 21 35 60.0 266 7.6 8.2 1 0 133.3
*2015 Notre Dame QB 2 26 40 65.0 428 10.7 12.7 4 0 187.9
2016 Notre Dame QB 8 11 23 47.8 122 5.3 6.2 1 0 106.7
Career Notre Dame 58 98 59.2 816 8.3 9.6 6 0 149.3
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/4/2017.
Rushing & Receiving Stats
Rush Rush Rush Rush
Year School G Att Yds Avg TD
2014 Notre Dame 5 33 187 5.7 2
*2015 Notre Dame 2 19 103 5.4 0
2016 Notre Dame 8 20 34 1.7 0
Career Notre Dame 72 324 4.5 2
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/4/2017.

The Gators also have the ability to use Zaire in different sets if he does not end up winning the starting job as well. If anything, Zaire’s transfer to Florida will add to their exceptional athleticism across the depth chart.

Watch: Malik Zaire versus LSU in Music City Bowl (2014)

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