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Brian Kelly praises QBs, likes Irish situation more than Ohio State's

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly is confident in Notre Dame's two quarterbacks. He left zero doubt about that Wednesday following the Irish's 13th spring practice, when he said he would take his signal-caller situation over that of anyone in the country — including that of defending national champion Ohio State.

"I think at the quarterback position, maybe other than Ohio State, I would take our two quarterbacks, and I would take our two over Ohio State," Kelly said. "But in terms of depth, I don't know that anybody has a better situation than we do with the two quarterbacks that we have."

That had to be music to Everett Golson's and Malik Zaire's ears. While both are talented, their resumes don't exactly measure up with those of the Buckeyes' trio of Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.

A rising redshirt senior, Miller won the Big Ten's offensive player of the year award in 2012 and 2013, in addition to finishing fifth in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting. When Miller went down last summer with a torn labrum in his (right) throwing shoulder, costing him the 2014 season, Barrett stepped in his place as a redshirt freshman last season, leading the Buckeyes to an 11-1 record while accounting for a Big Ten-record 45 touchdowns and a school-record 3,772 yards of offense, earning Big Ten quarterback of the year honors in the process.

And when Barrett went down in the regular-season finale with a fractured right ankle, Jones stepped in and, in his first three career starts, beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, Alabama in the national semifinals and Oregon in the national title game.

All three are back in Columbus, Ohio, for 2015, though Jones is the only one fully healthy and participating this spring.