Florida Gators add transfer quarterback Malik Zaire from Notre Dame

By Adam Silverstein
June 3, 2017
Florida Gators add transfer quarterback Malik Zaire from Notre Dame

Image Credit: AP

It took a bit longer than both parties would have liked, but quarterback Malik Zaire is finally headed to the Florida Gators as a graduate transfer.

Zaire, a former four-star prospect who suffered through injuries while spending four seasons at Notre Dame, anticipates arriving in Gainesville, Florida, on Wednesday, according to a late-night tweet from Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman on Saturday. The signal caller confirmed as much to 247Sports’ Luke Stampini less than an hour later.

Zaire will immediately become a contender in Florida’s starting quarterback competition once he enrolls.

Redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks is considered the favorite to start after leading the competition in the spring, but redshirt freshman Kyle Trask and 2016 starter redshirt junior Luke Del Rio, who missed spring practice due to a pair of surgeries, are also in contention for the job.

Del Rio is not expected to regain his starting job, but head coach Jim McElwain made it clear he would be part of the competition in the summer and fall.

With Zaire in the fold, the Gators are in a win-win situation as he would either be good enough to earn the starting job or serve as additional competition for Franks. Even if Zaire does not win the job, Florida has not had a quarterback start every game in a season since 2010, mostly due to injury.

“I’m going in there to be a part of the team and do what I can to help the team win and win the team’s respect,” Zaire told 247Sports. “There’s other guys out there on the field, too, so being a good teammate is first and foremost.”

Because of his own injuries, Zaire has never attempted more than 40 passes in a season. When he was the planned starter for Notre Dame in 2015, he completed 65 percent of his throws for 428 yards with four touchdowns.

He posted a 86.4 completion percentage (19 of 22) while throwing for 313 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener against Texas that year, playing as more of a drop-back passer. The prior season, Zaire started the 2015 Music City Bowl against LSU and completed 12-of-15 passes for 96 yards with a touchdown while rushing for 96 additional yards and another score. In that contest, he performed as more of a read-option signal caller.

Zaire, a lefty, has never thrown an interception in 98 collegiate passes over three seasons. According to Feldman, the quarterback “spent much of the past five months in Arizona training with private QB coach Dennis Gile, refining his mechanics with an emphasis on becoming more consistent.”


  1. Mg says:

    I like the addition. However, it doesn’t give me any confidence that McElwain can recruit and develop top flight HS qb’s.

    • BKP says:

      Agreed. If he doesnt have the confidence to play the guys he recruited then how can recruits trust him going forward? This is the same guy that bragged about being able to win with his dog

      • Michael Jones says:

        Ha ha.. of course he never said that, but let’s keep insisting that he did. Why let something like the facts get in the way of a good hatefest, right?

    • Michael Jones says:

      Oh no. . god forbid. . under no circumstances should we ever have any confidence in anything like that. I mean, he’s coached us a whole two years and so far has signed Franks and Allen, two highly-coveted 4 star QB’s, and neither one of them has won us a championship yet so, yes, Mac definitely sucks at recruiting and developing top flight HS QB’s. That’s the only reasonable conclusion we can draw at this point.

  2. J.A. says:

    I’m not high on this pick-up. I mean is Zaire better than Franks ? I don’t think so. This could end up being a huge distraction for UF if Zaire doesn’t start.

  3. KB says:

    It’s June folks and these things tend to work themselves out. If Zaire wanted to come it doesn’t say or mean anything right now and Mac would have been a fool not to take him. As a coach adding as much talent to the roster is what he should be doing and for those complaining right now go find something else to worry about. Iron sharpens Iron so we will see. I am imagining a certain guy playing in WV is going to have a good year and Mac is hell bent on UF having one too. May the best man win and pilot the Gators to their next championship whether that be Franks or anybody else on the roster or yet to be. Relax… come September we will all see how this works out and either complain then or be satisfied.

    • Michael Jones says:

      KB, please stop making comments that are measured, calm, intelligent, laced with common sense and, worst of all, lack unfair criticism of everything that is McElwain. You are ruining the fun for the rest of us idiots.

      Don’t you know that even if Mac were to somehow find an extra year of eligibility for Aaron Rodgers that signing him would still be a bad move?

  4. gatorknight says:

    Watch highlight film on Zaire. He is going to start over Franks. He’s mature, can throw and run. Has had excellent games against Texas and LSU. Franks will be the future give but give him another year. Welcome Malik!!

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