Reports this afternoon have former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who recently announced his intention to transfer, looking most closely at a pair of SEC schools, Georgia and South Carolina.
What would be so appealing about these schools for Golson? Obviously both are replacing departed senior QBs and have quarterback competitions which survived spring practice. In other words, both could actually use a veteran QB capable of stepping in and playing right away. Golson is also a Myrtle Beach native, so there's some appeal to finishing his career a little closer to home. Golson is scheduled to graduate from Notre Dame this month, and would be able to play immediately in 2015. Plus, it's the SEC. If Golson is going to convince pro scouts that he can in fact still play big time football, this would be one good place to do it.
What's in it for the schools? Well, I can't speak for our friends at Garnet and Black Attack, but for Georgia the answer is . . .not that much. Golson gets lampooned a little in the media, but the truth is he wasn't a terrible QB in 2014. While in South Bend he completed 60% of his passes for 3445 yards and 29 touchdowns. However he also threw a truly putrid 14 interceptions, 1 for every 30.5 pass attempts.
To put that in perspective, his yards per attempt (8.07) were only marginally better than Hutson Mason's (7.83), and his attempts per interception were much, much worse (Mason threw only 4 picks all year on 277 passes, 69.25 passes per pick). Golson wasn't just mediocre. He was inconsistent, a far worse sin when you're trying to win every game you play. Golson had five games in 2014 in which he didn't break 7 yards per attempt.
While some have argued that Golson brings mobility to the table. While it's an imperfect measure of such things, it is worth noting that Golson was sacked 27 times last season at Notre Dame to Mason's 17 at Georgia. Obviously offensive line quality and the lower number of passing plays have a lot to do with that. But Golson's mere 283 yards rushing were balanced by 8 lost fumbles (12 fumbles total). That is. . .not good.
Golson has physical gifts. There's no doubt about that. When he's in the groove he has a rocket arm. But there are so, so many red flags. There's the above turnover issues. But there are also the questions surrounding his suspension for the 2013 season due to academic dishonesty. And the questions regarding whether he could effectively pick up a pro style offense before the season starts. And perhaps the biggest hurdle of all, whether he could get past the SEC's "Masoli/Nutt Rule", instituted when the league once again began allowing schools to accept graduate transfers. Golson's 2013 issues may well bar him under that league policy, though it's hard to say for sure.
The bottom line for me is that if Georgia's going to shuffle through 2015 with an inconsistent signal caller it is preferable for it to be one who will be back in 2016. Brice Ramsey, Jacob Park, and Faton Bauta all fit that description. They also don't carry half the baggage Golson does, and all are more familiar with Brian Schottenheimer's system, albeit marginally. There's just no good reason to bring Golson to Athens unless Mark Richt has decided that wasting scholarships is a great hobby. Until later . . .