For a long time during the current football recruiting cycle, it looked like Notre Dame's class of 2011 would go without a quarterback.
Everett Golson of Myrtle Beach, S.C., picked Notre Dame, after backing out of his longstanding commitment to North Carolina.
The 6-foot, 170-pound Golson will enroll at ND in January. It will allow him to participate in spring practice. He also plans to play for Mike Brey's Irish basketball team.
Golson committed to North Carolina in February, but when the program got in NCAA hot water over agent-related benefits and academic misconduct, Golson began looking around.
“(Notre Dame) is really giving me the best opportunity,” Golson told the Myrtle Beach Herald Thursday night. “I feel like I can fit in with their offense better … they throw the ball 60-70 times per game.”
Golson will be joining what is becoming a crowded quarterback position. Starter Dayne Crist is expected back next fall after suffering a season-ending knee injury in October. True freshman Tommy Rees stepped in for Crist and went 3-0 as a starter. Freshman Andrew Hendrix did not play this season but could challenge for time next spring after ascending to the No. 3 spot late in the season.
Throw in Luke Massa, another freshman, and senior-to-be Nate Montana, and it's hard to believe that Notre Dame entered the 2010 season with only one quarterback - Crist - who had taken a snap for the Irish.
“I'm glad (ND) decided to go after a quarterback this year,” CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said.
Golson becomes the 18th player to verbally commit to Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2011, and the second this week. ND at one time had 20 verbal commitments but four players reneged.
Coppell, Texas running back Cam McDaniel's Monday commitment ended that run, and Golson's announcement put an exclamation point on the week.
Golson, who made an official visit to Notre Dame for last month's 28-3 drubbing of Utah, had offers from a number of big-time schools, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, Clemson and South Carolina.
As a junior, Golson threw for 3,587 yards and 44 touchdowns before wrist and leg injuries slowed his senior season. He missed eight games, but in three playoff games, Myrtle Beach has scored 162 points.
In last weekend's 47-0 victory, Golson completed 15 of 24 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns, and that was in barely a half of football as he sat out all but one series of the second half. His 13-1 team plays for the Class AAA state title on Saturday.
“He's not real tall, but he can throw the ball,” Lemming said. “He's got an outstanding arm for a little guy. I was really impressed with him as a passer. He could be an outstanding college quarterback.”
Lemming ranks Golson a four-star prospect, and compares him to former West Virginia quarterback Pat White. Golson, according to Lemming, runs the 40-yard dash in the neighborhood of 4.5 seconds.
“I think he's better than people think,” Lemming said.
When Golson pursues basketball is a bit cloudy. Golson told the Myrtle Beach Sun News last summer that North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams told him “if it's all right with the football team, you're welcome to be on the basketball team.”
Golson averaged 19.6 points as a junior and earned all-state honors. But he told reporters Thursday night that, because of the injuries suffered this year during the football season, he wasn't sure if he'd join the ND basketball team when he arrives in January.
“I want to go up there and just get accustomed to their academics,” he told the Herald, “because that's a challenge in itself.”