It was discernible that evening Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer had just played his final home game as a college football player. That day, he said he did not know if the loss to Virginia Tech would be his final game and he did not give a definitive answer either way.
However, reading in between the lines, and watching his body language, it seemed very likely. The fact that it was obviously the right decision to go, according to logic and reason, made the assumption easy.
Today Kizer made it official, and ended speculation.
“I’m ready to accept this challenge,” Kizer said in a statement.
“DeShone is an extremely gifted quarterback that was faced with a difficult decision,” reads a coach from Notre Dame Head coach Brian Kelly. “He could return as a senior captain at Notre Dame — a place that he loves, and with a program that respects him immensely. Or, he could begin the next chapter in his life and accept the opportunity that likely awaits in the NFL.
“While he chose the latter, the type of leadership DeShone displayed this past season will benefit our program moving forward. He’ll certainly be missed on and off the field, but we’re very happy for him and his family. DeShone will always represent this University with the utmost professionalism and class.”
Kizer, along with North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Miami’s Brad Kaaya (who will return to school now, thus taking himself out of the running) and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, are considered the cream of the crop regarding April’s NFL Draft prospects.
DeShone Kizer was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player by his teammates, completed 212 of 361 passes for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns this past season. He also rushed for 472 yards and eight touchdowns.
Kizer ranked in the top 25 nationally in five different categories including TD passes (18th, 26), passing yards per completion (24, 13.80), points responsible for (17th, 204), points responsible for per game (18th, 17.0) and total offense (26th, 283.1 per game).
Kizer is forgoing not one, but two seasons left of eligibility. The Toledo area native began the season behind Malik Zaire, as Kelly tried a two quarterback experiment that failed miserably. The situation preluded Zaire’s transfer out of the program, meaning Brandon Wimbush is now the favorite to start next season for the Irish.
After the seventh loss of the season officially ended Notre Dame’s bowl hopes, DeShone Kizer gave the quote of the year, in my opinion, or at least, the VERY BEST answer I’ve received, in a VERY LONG time, to one of my interview questions. Hence it’s in bold:
“I know that as a business major, as a guy who considers himself an intellect, I’m going to make sure that everything is calculated and that I’m well informed before I do make a decision.”
Given the current horrendous political climate in America, at least in regards to intellectualism, logic, reasoning and thinking in America, it was extremely brave and admirable of Kizer to say that. A big time star athlete wearing the “intellect” label proudly was a very special moment.
Despite the current American political climate, "elite," "intellectual," & "intellect" are NOT pejoratives. Screw anyone who says otherwise
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) November 20, 2016
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) November 21, 2016
Just the millionth example of how we know DeShone Kizer will absolutely ace the interview portion of the Scouting Combine, in Indianapolis.
Just check out this Q&A:
Q. Coach Kelly kind of described it as a loss for words with the way you guys have lost this many close games this year. He said it’s just one of those years. Is that kind of the same feeling for you guys as players?
DeShone Kizer: “Yeah, you know, I think that I did a good job of avoiding all your guys’ questions through all the other losses and at this point, what else am I supposed to say? It’s just unfortunate this is how the season has gone. I do believe that in every game we played, we had an opportunity to win.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.