ND QB Transfers
With Gunther Kiel's recnt transfer looking pretty stupid now in light of Golson's suspension...
I thought I would take a look at other ND QB’s who transferred out of Notre Dame. This is off the top of my head, so if anyone can recall others please let me know.
The primary reason for these transfers has been either lack of playing time or perceived lack of playing time. In several cases, a pushy dad was involved.
Jay Palazola was a heralded QB, from my own Massachusetts high school (Gloucester High School). He was 7th on the depth chart in Spring Ball. Because he was a fine runner and athlete, Dan Devine asked him to consider switching to wide receiver, safety, and/or kick returner. He declined. He had a “dad problem”, as his father thought he should be our first team QB. Jay got to be the starting QB at B.C. during a down period for the Eagles.
Ken Karcher may have made a smart decision, getting playing time at Tulane that he might not have received at ND. Hard to tell, but he did not have the NFL career he had hoped for.
Kent Graham probably made the best decision of all QB’s who left Notre Dame. He was not a fit for the option offense Holtz used with Tony Rice. Kent had a nice career at Ohio State and cashed a lot of NFL paychecks as a career back-up.
Zak Kustok was a big loss for Notre Dame. He was a great kid; a perfect ND kind of guy. He also had the most serious “dad problem”, with his father pushing him strongly. More on this in a minute. Zak had a fine career at Northwestern, but no NFL career. A couple years ago, Zak’s mother was murdered. His dad is currently on trial for the murder.
Matt Lovecchio had a remarkable start to his ND career, going 7-0 as a true freshman, while replacing injured Arnaz Battle. He led us to the Fiesta Bowl game we lost to Oregon State (and Dennis Erickson’s 27 Juco transfers—none of whom was in school after the season). The following year, Matt lost his spot to Carlyle Holiday. After Ty Willingham became head coach, Matt’s dad demanded that Matt be named the starter for the season. When Willingham refused, Lovecchio transferred to Indiana University. He was the starter on poor I.U. teams.
Chris Olsen had a big dad problem. His father was a high school coach and felt he knew how his sons should be handled. When the dad read the tea leaves that Brady Quinn was going to be playing ahead of him, the dad pulled both his sons out of ND. We lost future All American tight end Greg Olsen to Miami and Chris to Virginia. Chris was no loss to ND, but Greg was a huge loss.
Demetrius Jones had a nice redshirt year for Notre Dame before being named the starter for our 2007 season opener with Georgia Tech. If Jimmy Clausen had not injured his arm, he would have been the starter. Weis had to decide among Clausen, Evan Sharpley, Jones and Zack Frazier. He picked Jones, who flopped badly and immediately transferred to Brian Kelly’s Cincinnati team. He could not beat out either QB and became a middle linebacker. He later transferred to Cleveland State as a wide receiver/QB. When last seen, he was cut after one game in Arena Football.
Zach Frazier was relegated to fourth team and opted to transfer to Connecticut, where he had a mediocre career, highlighted by defeated Notre Dame, in Notre Dame Stadium. Ugh!
It will remain to be seen if Gunner Kiel has made a wise move to leave Notre Dame, but, in the short term it seems unwise, because he would be the odds on candidate to earn the starting job for this fall now that Golson has been suspended. While Tommy Rees knows the offense and has some passing skills, his lead feet make him a poor choice for the Kelly offense, which require the QB to be mobile in the pocket and also able to run the ball.