While news of the John Ross injury and the Jermaine Kelly transfer caused a veritable tsunami on the shores of Montlake, the rest of the college football world was busy processing the news that Notre Dame star QB Everett Golson had decided to transfer from the Irish. The senior QB has graduated from Notre Dame and would be immediately eligible under the graduate transfer waiver.
Golson was a multi-year starter at Notre Dame and he led the Irish to a near-perfect season and a National Championship appearance against Alabama a few seasons ago. Rumors immediately starting circulating as to potential landing spots for Golson. Schools that have been linked to him through the rumor mill include Florida State, Texas, Oregon State and, yes, UW.
In today's "the Pro and the Con" debate, Chris and Kirk debate whether or not Everett Golson would be a good fit for Chris Petersen and his Washington Huskies.
The Pro: Golson Could Improve This Team
Right off the bat, let me state that I doubt Golson transfers to Washington, and I doubt that Petersen will even reach out to him. With that said, I think Petersen should reach out to him. Why? Because he could make the team better.
I know, I know - Petersen is a guy that thinks long-term. Golson only has a year left, so what's to be gained from bringing him in? Well, potentially a lot. It's no secret that the Huskies lost a lot of talent off a team that went 8-6, and many Husky fans out there are concerned that 2015 might be a rough rebuilding year where just getting to .500 could be a challenge. While Petersen's reputation remains largely intact and a 6-6 season in year 2 of his tenure at Washington isn't going to result in major credibility problems for him and his staff on the recruiting trail, a losing season does start to erode trust in his ability (including the more skeptical of those in the fanbase). While Petersen certainly isn't on a hot seat by traditional measures, every year that isn't building towards a return to the Rose Bowl is another year of angst and frustration among fans and evidence among recruits that Washington isn't one of the "big boys" in the college football world.
If Golson is a player that boosts the Huskies chances of winning games significantly, then he's someone that should be given serious consideration. And based off his play on the field, he certainly appears to be a guy that could represent a major upgrade at the most important single position on the field: Quarterback.
Some will argue that bringing in a guy like Golson is just a stop-gap and wonder what message it would send to others on the team. I would argue that it says competition is always happening at Washington, and you'd better bring your A-game or the next guy up is going to beat you out. As it stands right now, Jeff Lindquist appears to be leading the race to start at QB, with K.J. Carta-Samuels close behind and Jake Browning showing flashes, but also showing he's a true frosh. If Golson were brought in one immediate benefit is that Browning's redshirt would be a near-certainty. Longer-term, is it really that much different if Golson were here and to win the job over Lindquist than the current situation?
Lindquist is a great kid and I really hope he turns out to have a great 2-year run to finish out his career here. But he's effectively a stop-gap until Petersen's recruits at QB are ready. As it is, KJCS is thought to be close behind Lindquist and could still win the job with a strong fall camp. Who's to say that he won't be ready to win the job in 2016, or that a more seasoned Browning won't be ready by then as well? I'm not convinced that Golson is truly more of a stop-gap than Lindquist.
I think the big issues here for Petersen are whether he feels Golson fits what he's looking for in a QB and an OKG; while a very good QB, his interception rate was a touch high at Notre Dame (3.3% last year) and his accuracy was good (60%) but not great. As well, there is the issue of his academic suspension that cost him a year - has he learned from that and is he a dedicated student? Is he a good teammate? Is his decision to transfer for his 5th year indicative of a kid that is running away from competition or has problems in the locker room? These are the things that Petersen would need to investigate.
But I think he should investigate, and I think he should give serious consideration to recruiting him.
The Con: QB Golson Isn't Our Kinda Guy
Alright, you got me. I'm guilty of dropping the ultimate cliche in the Husky football universe. But, as they say, when the shoe fits ...
Heaven knows that UW can use a QB right now. The spring camp contest that played out between Jeff Lindquist, KJ Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning did very little to convince Husky fans that they have a clear answer at the quarterback position. While it is true that an accomplished senior like Golson might be a viable remedy for the Petersen staff as they work to develop their younger QBs, it is my opinion that there is very little incremental value in bringing in a mercenary to hold the quarterback position over for a year.
The reasons for my resistance to this idea reside both on and off the field. Between the lines, there is no doubt that Golson has a dual-threat excitement about him. Though he is a bit on the small side, he is blessed with a big arm and elusiveness as a runner. In two seasons, he produced nearly 6,000 passing yards and 41 TDs. Not bad.
On the flip side, Golson also produced 20 career interceptions. In 2014, Golson led college football in turnovers with 22 directly attributable to himself. This on a team that started out 6-0. It got so bad that Golson was benched late in the season against USC and in the bowl win over LSU. It was junior Malik Zaire who led the Irish to that victory and opened the door to the QB competition that was to take place this fall. Turnovers are a no-no in any offense, but one can't help but to ponder how much worse it can get in a Chris Petersen offense that is more complicated than the one that Golson ran at Notre Dame.
The fact that Golson appears to either not be willing to participate in the competition or has been advised that he is not likely to win it does not sit well for me. If it is the former, how can we expect him to come to UW and to raise the overall level of play for an offensive unit that looks underwhelming compared to the rest of the Pac? If its the latter, how can we expect him to come to UW and to raise the overall level of play ... well, you get my meaning.
Take Golson's 2013 season-long suspension for violation of the team's academic honor code out of the equation and it is still difficult to see the logic for bringing him to Montlake. The fact of the matter is that UW is not set up well to re-establish the offensive magic that they had in Steve Sarkisian's last season. No amount of Golson magic - especially when netted against his recklessness with the ball in his hands - is going to significantly alter UW's trajectory in 2015.
For that reason, I say let Everett Golson move on with his college career somewhere else.