QB Malik Zaire won't seek extra year at Florida; dad says 'he felt he was sold a bill of goods' – SECcountry.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Quarterback Malik Zaire has decided not to petition the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility, ending his time at Florida after one season, according to his father.
Zaire, who broke his ankle two games into his 2015 season at Notre Dame, could have pursued a medical hardship waiver for a sixth year of eligibility to potentially return to the Gators. Despite a frustrating experience this fall, there was reason to think he might consider it with new coach Dan Mullen installing a spread offense better suited to his strengths, and incoming freshman Emory Jones the only other dual-threat quarterback in the mix.
But Zaire will instead move on and try to earn a chance to prove himself at the next level.
“He’s done,” his father, Imani Zaire, said Thursday night. “I think [Malik and Mullen] briefly spoke, but nothing in-depth. … And I don’t think Malik would have stayed unless he was just going to be guaranteed [to start], but I think he was just done with the college experiences. The last few cases have been really ugly.”
Zaire opened 2015 as the starter at Notre Dame and had a strong season debut against Texas, completing 19 of 22 passes for 313 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. But the next week at Virginia he broke his ankle, missing the rest of that season and remaining stuck behind starter DeShone Kizer the next fall.
Even though Kizer moved on to the NFL after the 2016 season, Zaire felt he wasn’t given a true opportunity at Notre Dame and opted to leave. He eventually joined Florida with much fanfare, waiting out a rule change from the SEC in late spring that cleared the way for the Gators to bring him on as a graduate transfer.