Transferring Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is down to two possible destinations, Clint Brewster of 247Sports reported on Sunday: South Carolina and Georgia.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) May 11, 2015
Brewster writes Golson will visit South Carolina on Monday and Georgia the following. Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks coaching staff pursued Everett Golson as a prep prospect, while Georgia’s emergence is a byproduct of the Bulldogs seeking a veteran answer at quarterback.
Of the two, South Carolina is the better fit. Spurrier has a long and distinguished track record of maximizing his quarterback’s abilities, last year getting 26 passing touchdowns and almost 3,600 yards from Dylan Thompson.
Georgia’s seen quarterbacks similarly outperform their expectations, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s departure for the head coaching gig at Colorado State leaves Brian Schottenheimer in charge of the Bulldog offense.
The NFL-bred Schottenheimer was roundly criticized in his time with St. Louis for calling a rather vanilla style. That has potential at Georgia, with the Bulldogs returning stud running back Nick Chubb and bringing equally talented Sony Michel on for a change-of-pace, but Everett Golson is not suited to the traditional playcalling one can expect from Schottenheimer in Athens.
Spurrier’s system is more free-wheeling, and the Gamecocks backfield is filled with potential breakout players to help shoulder the load. Brandon Wilds is an experienced veteran, and Brandon Williams averaged almost six yards per carry in a supplementary role.
Pharoh Cooper is an explosive and dynamic weapon who, frankly, could have worked well in Brian Kelly’s offense a la former Cincinnati star Mardy Gilyard.
All that said, South Carolina is not necessarily the home-run choice for Everett Golson to reinvigorate his career and NFL hopes. The Gamecocks’ problems in 2014 were not the result of offense, but rather a shockingly anemic defense.
South Carolina ranked No. 91 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing more than 30 points per game. The Gamecocks’ defensive woes dug holes that Thompson and the offense were forced to try digging out of.
The situation was so dire, Spurrier hired Jon Hoke to share coordinating duties with Lorenzo Ward, one of the nation’s hottest assistants prior to the dismal 2014 campaign.
Ward’s overseen stellar defenses in the past, and additional insight from Hoke could help the Gamecocks return to their previous form, but South Carolina has a very long way to go. Golson is not the kind of quarterback who thrives playing from behind — on the contrary, his production dipped the more Notre Dame got behind last season.
Golson’s worst game was arguably the early November trip to Arizona State, in which the Fighting Irish fell behind by nearly four touchdowns in the first half. Trying to scrap back — and almost doing so in the third quarter — had Golson forcing balls into windows that didn’t exist.
While point totals throughout the SEC have climbed substantially in the last three seasons, the prospect of facing SEC defenses week in and week out, while working with the handicap of an ineffective defense on the other side of the ball, is hardly the best situation for Everett Golson.
A team I included in my snapshot of potential landing spots for Everett Golson, SMU, makes more sense the longer I marinate on it. I love Chad Morris’ playbook, which has been a proven winner for his quarterbacks at Clemson.
Clemson also pursued Golson in high school, suggesting Morris would see the value in having Golson run his offense. Like Golson, SMU is working toward a comeback in 2015 after nose-diving at the end of the June Jones era.
Everett Golson could lay a foundation on which Morris’ long-term vision for the program is to be build. Alas, it would seem Golson is destined for the SEC.