On May 7th, Everett Golson announced that he would leave Notre Dame and transfer under the Graduate Transfer rule, meaning that he would be eligible to play immediately this fall for another school. Golson was Notre Dame’s starting quarterback in 2012 and 2014 (he missed 2013 due to academic ineligibility). He was the one of the reasons Notre Dame started 2014 on fire and at the top of the polls. But, after a heartbreaking October loss to Florida State, Golson and the Fighting Irish struggled through the remainder of the season which led to Malik Zaire starting over Golson in their Music City Bowl win over LSU. After splitting reps with Zaire again this spring, the senior decided it was time for a change in his final year.
Golson ultimately decided to become a Seminole after visiting several SEC schools and being barred from Texas, stating that he loved how genuine Jimbo Fisher was and that he felt Florida State could benefit him the most. Even though Fisher did not guarantee Golson a spot, it seemed like a perfect fit from the start. FSU just lost their starting QB and Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, to the NFL and it was clear that no one on the current roster could readily replace Winston. The remaining quarterbacks had just 1 start combined: Sean Maguire’s win over Clemson while Jameis was benched. As talented as the Seminole roster is, it was looking like an uphill battle for Florida State to remain a top contender for the title in 2016.
Insert Everett Golson. Golson had similar numbers to Winston in 2015 and has thrown for over 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns at Notre Dame. Add in the fact that Golson has 2 years as a starter at a prestigious football school under his belt and a national championship appearance in 2012 and Florida State is looking much more potent on offense than it was this spring.
Jimbo Fisher was adamant that he did not guarantee Golson the starting job, but let’s be honest, no one else on the current FSU roster has the skill set or experience to beat out Golson. He will be under center when Florida State takes its first snap this fall. With the dangerous Dalvin Cook in the backfield and Jesus Wilson, Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane returning to catch passes, Golson will have plenty of talented help to move the ball and pick up where Jameis left off. But let’s not forget that Golson brings another facet to the offense that Jameis did not: legs. Golson racked up over 500 career rushing yards at Notre Dame and is a nightmare for defenders in the open field. Where Winston could take what he was given on the ground, Golson can attack and turn short gains into races to the end zone. Defenses will need to game plan in order to keep Golson from gashing them on the ground as well as through the air. This extra threat will make Golson Florida State’s best player this season. In fact, he should be considered a dark horse for the Heisman, already.
When you add a championship caliber QB to an already talent-laden roster, it becomes hard not to win games – the most difficult task FSU will face this fall is simply getting Golson up to speed on their playbook. If you’re not sold yet, look at what Russell Wilson did when he went to Wisconsin, a good team in need of a solid quarterback. It culminated in 11 wins, Big Ten championship, Rose Bowl appearance and the best statistical year of Wilson’s career. While it’s hard to compare Golson directly to Wilson as they have different skill sets, the situation is quite similar – except that this Florida State team is even better than Wisconsin was. Everett Golson has the skill set, experience and weapons around him to take Florida State back to the national championship in 2016.