For the first time in nearly a year, Everett Golson on Monday took to a football field wearing his Notre Dame practice jersey and helmet. And, for the first time since being reinstated in mid-December, Golson spoke publicly regarding his banishment as the Irish wrapped up the first day of spring practice.
“I want to say surreal in a sense,” Golson said of his official return. “I felt accomplished for a split moment, that I went through what I went through and now I’m back and I’m moving forward now and still continuing that process of trying to grind and be better.”
Golson’s forced sabbatical was a well-chronicled one. In late May of last year, Golson was suspended from the university for what was described as an academic violation. Speculation subsequently surfaced that cheating was involved, with Golson confirming the rumors by acknowledging he had cheated on a final exam.
Golson, in his first season as the Irish’s No. 1 quarterback in 2012, started 11 of the 12 games in which he played in leading Notre Dame to its first unbeaten regular season in more than two decades and a spot in the BCS title game. Head coach Brian Kelly said late last month that Golson won’t simply be handed the starting job based on that past, although it would certainly qualify as an upset if someone such as freshman Malik Zaire were under center for the 2014 opener Aug. 30 against Rice.
During his time off, Golson stated that he worked for a couple of months with noted quarterback guru George Whitfield. Golson also confirmed that schools had contacted him about a potential transfer, although the player said he never considered a move as he “knew I messed up, so for me I had to come back and complete what I started.”