It was an expected decision, but one revealed at an unexpected time: Tommy Rees will be Notre Dame's starting quarterback in 2013.
Coach Brian Kelly said that definitively Wednesday at an event in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“We always move forward,” Kelly told the Grand Rapids Press. “I don’t live in the past, and I don’t spend too much time in the future. I live in the present, and in the present, we have Tommy Rees. We have Tommy Rees, who is an established player, and he will be our starter. We think Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire can contribute, but Tommy will be our starter.”
And with that, there will be no quarterback competition at Notre Dame in August. Kelly may backtrack at some point between now and fall camp in an attempt to manufacture competition between Rees, Hendrix and Zaire, or perhaps his comments were a tactical ploy. Although, if he's saying Rees is his starter in public, the quarterback likely has already known that for some time now.
Notre Dame is in this position because Everett Golson is suspended from the school for its 2013 fall term. With Golson -- who quarterbacked the Irish to a 12-0 regular-season record and berth in the BCS Championship -- out of the picture until 2014, the experienced Rees was assumed to get the nod before Kelly said as much this week.
[RELATED: Kelly wants Golson back at Notre Dame]
In three years at Notre Dame, Rees has started 18 games with a 63.6 completion percentage for 4,413 yards with 34 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He started 12 games for the Irish in 2011, throwing 14 interceptions that greatly contributed to the team's 8-5 record.
"Tommy knows exactly what the expectations are for him," Kelly said last month in a teleconference following Golson's dismissal for 2013. "And he was a huge part of our undefeated season, he's going to be a part of this season as well. He knows what we expect of him on a day-to-day basis, and just like a guy who can't make tackles, he's probably not going to be on the field if he can't tackle -- and you're probably not going to be on the field if you throw interceptions, whether you're Tommy Rees or Malik Zaire or Everett Golson. That's pretty established in our program as to what the expectations are."