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Report: Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire chooses Florida for graduate transfer

One of the worst-kept secrets in college football is now out in the open. But there’s still another shoe left to drop.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

After months of dancing around each other, Malik Zaire has reportedly completed his part of a long-rumored graduate transfer to Florida.

Per a report from Alex Wilcox of South Bend’s WNDU-TV, the former Notre Dame quarterback is “telling people” he has opted to transfer to Florida, but is still waiting on the SEC’s rules governing graduate transfers to be altered to allow the Gators to welcome him to Gainesville.

Of course, the messaging from Zaire — and/or those around him — has always seemed to indicate his deep interest in transferring to Florida for the 2017 season. Florida has been the only school reportedly in the mix for Zaire since he was granted his release to transfer from Notre Dame last fall, while schools like North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and even Harvard have been in and out of the discussion at various stages.

And Florida’s interest in Zaire has seemingly never wavered, with the major roadblock to Zaire making the trek to Gainesville always reportedly being those SEC rules. Florida is currently prohibited from taking graduate transfers in football as a result of failure to ensure graduate transfers Mason Halter and Anthony Harrell made academic progress in their lone year with the Gators in 2015.

But the word for months — dating back to December, at least — has been that the SEC would review those rules in the spring. And while that still has not happened as of yet, the league’s spring meetings begin Wednesday, and, as Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports notes, Florida’s remained confident of a resolution allowing the Gators to take Zaire.

If and when Zaire does land at Florida, he is likely to compete for the starting quarterback role with redshirt freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask and redshirt junior Luke Del Rio. At the conclusion of spring practice, Franks was seen by most as Florida’s most likely starter for a season-opening game against Michigan, but Zaire’s talents and experience would make him the most likely candidate of a pool including him, Del Rio, and Trask to beat out Franks for that role.