Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Colleges

Ex-Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire transferring to Florida

Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire ended any lingering suspense this weekend by announcing his intention to transfer to Florida.

His decision — explained to Fox Sports and 247Sports.com — had been in the works for weeks, long before Friday's SEC rule tweak allowed the Gators to take a graduate transfer.

Although the move is not yet official, the 6-foot, 225-pound lefty plans to arrive in Gainesville on Wednesday to "see everything and tour everything and set some stuff up."

"Just try to ingrain myself on being a Gator," Zaire told 247Sports.com. "Excited for the opportunity and eager to get there."

What this means for the Gators — in their Sept. 2 season opener against Michigan and beyond — depends on which Zaire the Gators are getting: The one who has beaten LSU and Texas, or the one who was beaten out for the starting job last year.

RELATED: SEC rule change clears way for Malik Zaire to transfer to Florida.

If UF lands the first one, the Gators should challenge for a third consecutive East Division title. The former four-star recruit starred in his first career start, earning MVP honors at the 2014 Music City Bowl with a 12-of-15 passing performance and 96 rushing yards in a win over LSU. He followed that with one of the most prolific passing games in Fighting Irish history: 19-of-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-3 demolition of Texas to open the 2015 season.

The concern is those two games are pretty much the extent of his highlight reel. A week after beating the Longhorns, Zaire missed 11 of 18 passes before suffering a season-ending ankle injury at Virginia.

Zaire, 22, saw time in last year's opener at Texas but lost the starting job to DeShone Kizer, the eventual No. 52 pick in April's NFL draft. As the backup on a 4-8 team, Zaire completed only 11 of 23 passes while setting career lows in completion percentage (47.8), yards per passing attempt (5.3) and rushing attempt (1.7).

RELATED: Five things to know about Malik Zaire.

But the Kettering, Ohio, native still has positive traits that should allow him to challenge UF's frontrunner, redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, and last year's Week 1 starter, Luke Del Rio, for the starting job.

In 17 appearances, Zaire never has turned the ball over. That's one of the most important traits for a coach Jim McElwain quarterback. Zaire averaged 4.5 yards per rush during his career, which would add another layer of complexity to the Gators offense.

A formal announcement from Florida might not come until after the school's Summer B session begins June 26.

Times staff writer Daniel O'Boyle contributed to this report. Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Comments
Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville must vacate its 2013 men’s basketball title following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s program in the sex scandal case. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the c...
Published: 02/20/18
Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

TAMPA — Coaches often point to "intangibles" — the subtle positive qualities that usually don’t show up in the boxscore — when praising their key players.But University of Tampa women’s basketball coach Tom Jessee has a different definition when desc...
Published: 02/13/18
FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Terance Mann couldn’t mope over two missed free throws that could have sealed Florida State’s victory. There was still work to do on the other end to make sure Louisville didn’t take advantage. The junior guard quickly redeemed hims...
Updated one month ago
No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

GAINESVILLE — Mike White hung his head.Florida’s coach scuffed his shoes against the hardwood, screamed into his hands and watched as his team let Saturday’s game slip away.With Alabama on a seven-point run 11 minutes into the second half, the Gators...
Updated one month ago

USF Bulls fall to Memphis

TAMPA — From its two-point home loss against UCF to its victory at Tulane, USF recently had provided its fan base encouragement in spurts. Similarly, its interior defense against Memphis on Wednesday night also came and went.With 6-foot-3 Tigers guar...
Updated one month ago
Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — The repeated misses were bad for No. 23 Florida. The failure to rebound them made the offensive struggles even more painful. Yante Maten scored 20 and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat the Gators 72-60 on Tuesday n...
Updated one month ago

Florida State beats Miami in OT despite 17 Hurricanes 3-pointers

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton and Miami’s Jim Larranaga both have at least 33 years of college basketball coaching experience under their belts.Both might have experienced a first during their matchup Saturday.FSU and Miami needed a ...
Updated one month ago
Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

GAINESVILLE — Florida point guard Chris Chiozza was feeling it, so he went with the flow.A pass-first point guard by nature, Chiozza decided to stay aggressive as a scorer and see what happened.The Gators were glad he did.Chiozza finished the 20th-ra...
Updated one month ago
Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

ORLANDO — The NFL plans to recognize UCF’s 13-0 season during today’s Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.Players have been invited to walk out on the field for a celebration after the first quarter."When we thought about UCF and the amazing season the...
Updated one month ago
Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday, the day an explosive ESPN story detailing a number of allegations of sexual assault and violent attacks on women occurred with Spartan athletes.Hollis...
Updated one month ago