Report: Florida one of three teams being considered by QB transfer Malik Zaire

By Adam Silverstein
November 30, 2016
Report: Florida one of three teams being considered by QB transfer Malik Zaire

Image Credit: AP

Notre Dame has granted a release to quarterback Malik Zaire, who plans to continue his college football career as a graduate transfer at another school next season, the player told ESPN on Wednesday.

The release from the Irish only restricts him from playing for the team’s 2017 opponents, Zaire said, which leaves the door open for three of the four teams Zaire was reportedly considering: Florida, Pitt and Wisconsin (via ESPN’s Matt Fortuna).

The Gators accepted two transfer signal callers ahead of the 2016 season. Purdue’s Austin Appleby, who did not win the starting job out of camp but has taken over due to injury and performance, will graduate at the end of the season. Redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio, a former walk-on at Alabama, does not appear to be the answer Florida is looking for at the position.

UF also has Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask, both of whom will be redshirt freshmen in 2017, though neither was apparently ready to have his redshirt removed to play this season, so head coach Jim McElwain may opt for another year of seasoning. The Gators also have four-star Jake Allen (Fort Lauderdale, FL) committed for 2017, though recent play suggests he may not be ready to see the field for a couple years.

Florida has also been linked to Baylor transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who spent the 2016 season at a community college and would be eligible immediately upon signing with a team. Stidham, however, appears to be leaning towards Auburn or Texas A&M; contact with UF and LSU has reportedly been minimal.

Between the two, Stidham is by far the more accomplished quarterback, having started most of the 2015 season for the Bears. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Zaire has only played extensively in four games during his college career (two in 2014 as an injury replacement, two in 2015 as a starter before getting injured). However, in those games, he completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 694 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions, also rushing 47 times for 217 yards and two more scores. Zaire was named a co-starter in 2016 but failed to win the permanent job with DeShone Kizer taking the reins all season.

Florida has struggled to find a quarterback since the departure of Tim Tebow with nine different signal callers taking snaps behind center in the last seven seasons. Only Will Grier appeared truly promising, and he was suspended midway through the 2015 season for a banned substance and has since transferred. Of those nine players, six transferred, including four prospects rated as four-star recruits or better.


  1. Mr2Bits says:

    Simple answer is No…no more transfers. Start one of the freshman in the bowl game or this weekend and lets see what we have. There is no reason to carry two QB’s into next year both being redshirts. The only thing Mac is doing is forcing one of those players to transfer out if he doesn’t stagger Trask and Franks. Start one now, build a good future around a solid QB and lets look to 2018 (next year is going to be bad and we all know it). No more of this “serviceable transfer” nonsense.

  2. SW FL Joe says:

    Well so much for him. According to Dooley, UF cannot take any more graduate transfers for 3 years. He didn’t name names but per the SEC:

    Once the transfer comes to an SEC school, the rule requires the player to make progress toward a graduate degree. If that doesn’t happen, the university won’t be able to apply the grad-student exception in that athlete’s sport for three years.

    • Not sure what you’re referring to here.

    • MAR says:

      This would be a blessing in disguise IMO. I think the only advantage of having a good graduate transfer would be to use him to push and develop young talent. We need a young talented QB to grow with game experience, not bench time. Tebow, Grossman, Wuerrful, Leak all improved with time and gave us multiple years at the position. Unless you have Saban, champion QB’s develop with time, and their first year might not be all that great. I hate this graduate transfer one and done thing. It’s a waste of time unless he is willing to come in just to give the young QB’s a challenge in practice and ride the pine come game time.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    Something weird happened with Del Rio this year. Wonder if we know everything. . I mean, besides the obvious injury. I don’t know that he should be counted out yet. He’ll be a redshirt junior with some playing time behind him and a whole offseason to get healthy, stronger and better.. He’s looked good at times. . other times, not so much.

    We’ll see. Plus 4 star Jake Allen coming in. Should be interesting.

    • MAR says:

      Please God no. LDR should be 3rd string at best next year. Time to develop young talent at the position. LDR would do himself a favor and transfer to where the weather actually suits his clothes….. Division II, or whatever the fuck it’s called now.

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