The door is open for former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire to play out his final season of eligibility at Florida. On Friday, the SEC changed its graduate transfer rule that stated if a graduate transfer doesn’t meet the given academic requirements at his new school, that school cannot use immediately eligible grad transfers for three years.
Under the new rule, that penalty is only one year. Because Florida had been in the second year of their penalty, under the new one-year ban the Gators have already served their time.
#Gators AD Scott Stricklin said the SEC will reduce graduate transfer penalty from three to one year. Paves way for Malik Zaire transfer.
— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) June 2, 2017
Zaire’s decision is not official yet, although many reports suggest he will take advantage of the rule change and wind up at Florida. He is also considering Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, according to ESPN.
But Zaire’s tweet from Friday afternoon certainly suggests he’s excited about Florida becoming a viable option.
— Malik Zaire (@Lucky9Lefty) June 2, 2017
Coming off a 9-4 season and Outback Bowl victory, Florida returns redshirt junior quarterback Luke Del Rio, who went 5-1 as a starter last year before a shoulder injury ended his season. Redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks could also provide some competition if Zaire chooses the Gators.
Appearing in eight games last season, Zaire attempted 23 passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He had been the starter for 2015, but an ankle injury in the second game of the year ended his season.
Whether or not the rule change alters his decision, we should know where he is headed soon enough. From ESPN:
“As soon as possible,” he said about when the announcement will come. “I want to get in before fall camp and before school starts so I can be around the guys and get rolling on those relationships.”