SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- One of Everett Golson's biggest Notre Dame supporters this spring has caught even the quarterback off guard: Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly.
Golson, back for Notre Dame’s pro day after leaving for Florida State for his redshirt senior season, spoke with reporters Thursday for the first time since August 2015 and said Kelly reached out to him about returning for the NFL showcase, an offer Golson accepted considering the number of familiar faces he’d be throwing to.
“I will say this: I could see how some coaches would probably feel some type of animosity toward the player or whatever, but I can honestly say that he hasn’t felt any of that,” Golson said of Kelly. “I come back right now, I’m sitting in the training room, he’s talking to me just like I’m here, dapping me up, and it’s just cool. So I do appreciate him for extending that offer as well.”
Golson said he has no regrets about his decision to transfer to FSU last summer after receiving his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame in May. His uneven run with the Seminoles included a 7-1 record as a starter and a missed trip to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, a situation Golson refused to delve into Thursday but one he said was addressed with NFL teams.
The 6-foot, 199-pound signal-caller thanked coach Jimbo Fisher and his FSU teammates for accepting him as an essential one-year rental. Asked what he got out of 2015 with the Seminoles, Golson said: “A lot. A lot, man. A lot."
“And I think it was kind of hidden, you know what I’m saying?” he continued. “Like I said, I don’t regret making that move, because it was very beneficial for me. I had Coach Jimbo Fisher, who’s one of the great minds -- as well as Coach Kelly -- but he’s another great mind in college football. And I’d never seen anybody (with) like the recall that he has. We’re sitting in film room and he may call something out from 2006, and tell you exactly where the play is, exactly what down it was, you’re like just, yo, how does that happen?
“But being around a great mind like that, man, and learning a different perspective on football ... it’s only (going to) make you better, you know what I’m saying? So that’s what it was for me, man. Like I said: My knowledge of the game increased so much.”
What comes next is the big question. Golson was not invited to last month’s NFL combine after a college career that saw him throw for 7,628 yards with 52 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He was Notre Dame’s starter as a redshirt freshman during the team's run to the BCS title game in 2012, and he missed all of 2013 while serving an academic-induced suspension. He started the first 12 games in 2014 before transferring the following spring.
Golson said he has no doubt he’ll be an NFL quarterback, and that he hasn’t worked out at other positions. He has been here for about two weeks and said he will have workouts with individual NFL teams soon. He said teams have liked his accuracy, improvisational skills and strong arm -- one deep pass to Will Fuller got stuck in the Loftus Center roof Thursday -- and feels he can improve his footwork.
“Just seeing how he looks with the ball in his hand and then all his balls being almost completed (was good),” former defensive lineman Sheldon Day said. “So it’s good seeing him back out here.”
Golson said he felt welcomed back by his former teammates, especially the wide receivers who worked out with him. Fuller, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle were among the 17 players Notre Dame had present Thursday in front of reps from most if not all NFL teams.
“Simply the process,” Golson said when asked why he chose Notre Dame’s pro day over Florida State’s. “I felt like this is my alma mater, I got my degree from here. I wanted to be back with those guys. As it turns out, I didn’t have any wide receivers at FSU, so I wanted to also be back with those guys one last time.
“It’s kind of a big moment when you really think about it, man. You got 14-plus guys out here who will probably never be in the same spot together again, you know what I’m saying? So for me that was real important, you know what I’m saying? Just getting out here and throwing to guys that I’ve been comfortable with, Breeze and Will and those guys.”