Notre Dame football: Golson hopes to be in quarterback picture
When Notre Dame freshman Everett Golson looks in the mirror, though, he still sees a man with a future, a future at Notre Dame. He sees a man humbled by academic turbulence and redshirt status.
He sees opportunity, even though that window may not be perpetually open.
His skill set, his circumstance, his disappearance from public view have combined to make Golson perhaps the most talked about, gawked over third-string quarterback in the nation.
Is he the future? A soon-to-be memory? Or something in between? He's certainly not anonymous.
"I think the best thing for Everett was coming in early, last January," said Mickey Wilson, Golson's head coach at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School.
"When he got there, he was the typical college freshman, a little homesick. But I've asked him every time we've talked how everything was going, and he's always said, 'My future is here at Notre Dame.' He realizes that.
"He's the kind of kid who can look and see two to three years down the road of what's ahead."
He is also the kind of kid who can rise beyond the occasion. When the now 6-foot, 185-pound Golson was a 5-foot-9 freshman at Myrtle Beach High, he had to compete with a senior with two years of starting experience and more than 4,000 passing yards on his résumé.
Golson beat him out.
"The other kid had done really well," Wilson said, "but Everett was just a better player. He's just a very dynamic kid, and any time that ball's in his hands, there's a chance for a big play or a score. You've got to put a kid like that on the field."
Golson was in play for the Irish this season until October. Kelly couldn't separate the Golson and sophomore Andrew Hendrix coming out of fall camp as to which one would eventually emerge as the change-up quarterback. So early on, they both got practice reps with the varsity and both shared time on the demo squad, preparing ND's No. 1 defense for its upcoming opponent.
In game six, Hendrix, who redshirted in 2010, made his playing debut against Air Force. That's the first time redshirting Golson in 2011 became a strong possibility. Some struggles in the classroom pushed it to a definite.
"All behind me," Golson said of the off-the-field struggles. "When I first heard I was going to redshirt, I looked at it as something that should be frowned upon. At the time, I was juggling football and academics a lot.
"As soon as it was determined that I was going to be to on the scout team, I was able to focus on my skill development on the field and my academics off it."
Golson didn't just go through the motions once he fell to the bottom of the depth chart. He earned Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors, an award announced last Friday at the Notre Dame Awards Show.
"It's a complete honor," he said, looking sincere.
But probably not one in which he'd want to be a repeat winner -- which is a possibility.
But he could also rise to the top of what is now a three-man quarterback depth chart -- four, if in-state phenom Gunner Kiel commits to the Irish.