The quarterback competition is on again at Notre Dame.
Brian Kelly says Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire will all compete to be Notre Dame's starting quarterback this fall with previous starter Everett Golson now out for the entire 2013 season.
Kelly says he was dissapointed when he received word that one of his star players made a costly mistake that is resulting in a suspension from school.
As WNDU first broke the news Saturday night, Golson is no longer enrolled at the university. On Sunday, Golson confirmed that he has been suspended from Notre Dame for the fall semester due to "poor academic judgment."
Kelly spoke for the first time about Golson's situation in a conference call with media members Tuesday afternoon.
"It's like being a dad," Kelly says about his thoughts when he received word about Golson. "There's a sense of pride that Everett handled himself the right way to take full responsibility. You're disappointed but you know these things happen. I think Everett is going to take this & this will be his defining moment."
Kelly says Golson is determined to do everything he can to return to the Irish in the winter of 2014 after serving his suspension.
"If the university allows him back into school, that will be enough for him to be on the team," Kelly says. "At Notre Dame we're going to hold you accountable, but if you do right thing you're going to get a 2nd chance. That's a good thing."
Kelly says Golson will have to prove himself when he does return to the team but Kelly did not want to speculate on whether Golson would be the starter upon his return.
"I can't worry about the guys that aren't here," Kelly said. "I have to worry about the guys that we have."
That's why perhaps Kelly laughed when he was asked if he reached out to recently transferred quarterback Gunner Kiel about Kiel's interest in coming back.
"No," Kelly said. "I want guys that want to be here."
The guys that are here are Rees, Hendrix and Zaire. Rees has started games in each of the last three seasons including being the team's starter to end the year in both 2010 and 2011.
"Tommy knows what we expect of him on a day-to-day basis," Kelly said.
Rees started games in 2012 but was primarily the team's backup to Golson who was the clear cut starter until the weekend.
"Certainly its going to be challenge," Kelly says. "[Everett] was our starting quarterback. But we have experience w/ Tommy Rees & Andrew Hendrix."
Early enrollee Malik Zaire has no experience but impressed coaches during spring practice but Kelly says its too early to tell how quickly Zaire can put it all together.
Kelly also addressed the speculation about start defensive line recruit Eddie Vanderdoes who may not show up June 17th despite signing a National Letter of Intent obligating him to do so.
“None of those freshman are here yet," Kelly explained. "We'll see who shows up. There's always a surprise or two."
Just like this week with Golson. Kelly says he knows these things will happen is not sure there is anything that can be done to prevent kids from making mistakes. It happens, Kelly says.
Kelly was also about whether any other schools have contact him about whether Golson would be interested in transfering. Kelly said he nor the Notre Dame compliance office have been contacted.