Yahoo's Pat Forde ranked Everett Golson fifth in his annual list of college football's most intriguing quarterbacks, a nod to the Notre Dame signal-caller's potential but also a nod to his year-and-a-half absence from a competitive game.
Golson's exile from campus last fall cost him the entire 2013 season, meaning the last game he played was the BCS Championship on Jan. 7, 2013. When he takes the field against Rice Aug. 30 -- assuming he's the starter -- it'll have been exactly 600 days since his last game.
And that makes Golson somewhat of an unknown coming into the season. We know he has a strong arm, an ability to make plays outside the pocket and a good grasp of the offense. But 2013 was supposed to be the year he took the next step and became one of college football's best quarterbacks. Instead, he spent the summer and fall working out in Chicago and with quarterback guru George Whitfield in San Diego.
Still, Golson's name has been thrown around in a number of preseason watch lists as well as a Heisman dark horse. The betting website Bovada has Golson at 20/1 odds to win the Heisman, the same as Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon and only slightly lower than the odds for Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall (16/1) and Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight (18/1).
But most importantly, Golson missed out on a lot of film study and valuable time with coaches last year. Coach Brian Kelly said before preseason camp started that Golson still has to get the "why" of playing quarterback down.
"It's the why of the playbook, why are we doing this, what's the next call here when you see this coverage," Kelly said. "And so that's where we are in this process, why. And when you get there, you want the quarterback now to be one step ahead of you -- coach, we need to be doing this. We're not there yet but we are moving in that direction."