Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire expects to arrive in Gainesville on Wednesday, June 7, as first reported by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports late Saturday night.
Spoke to Malik Zaire. He told me he expects to head to #UF on Wednesday & said he's very excited about the opportunity to play in the SEC.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) June 4, 2017
Zaire — currently working as a camp counselor at Nike’s Elite 11 camp in Oregon, explaining his proximity to multiple members of the college football media — also told 247Sports that he would “go down (to Gainesville) Wednesday and kind of just see everything and tour everything and set some stuff up.”
What that trip will entail is obviously unclear from that quote, and there are few clues as to Zaire’s enrollment status to scry from its timing.
But it is likely that Zaire is not officially a member of the Florida Gators just yet.
Florida’s Summer B term — typically one heavily attended by enrolling athletes, and especially first-time enrollees — does not begin until June 26, and advance registration for it has been open since early May and will be open until June 22. Florida’s Summer A and Summer C terms — most often attended by students already enrolled at the school but occasionally attended by first-time enrollees, like quarterback Jake Allen and offensive lineman Tyler Jordan — began on May 8, meanwhile, and late registration for them closed on May 9.
While it is theoretically possible that Zaire is enrolled at Florida, as one person told me he is over Twitter last week, the only terms currently in progress at Florida are Summer A and C. And it would be difficult to square Zaire being enrolled in classes that began in early May with Zaire apparently graduating from Notre Dame in late May and not being permitted to transfer to Florida as a graduate student-athlete until Friday’s relaxation of the SEC’s rules governing graduate transfers.
But Zaire has had his sights sets on Florida for months, and was interested in joining the Gators long before the report last weekend that he had decided to do so. (His eventual move to Gainesville was such a fait accompli that, after I wrote “I suspect Zaire officially becoming a Gator is a matter of when” on Friday, a source told me on Saturday that “when is now” — hours prior to Zaire speaking to Feldman and 247Sports.) It would be unusual for him to have done something unconventional by enrolling before he could be formally accepted as a graduate transfer student-athlete — and, consequently, enjoy the benefits of being on scholarship — but that path is not totally out of the question.
Of course, if Zaire were currently enrolled at Florida, and had revealed his transfer rather than his intent to transfer on Saturday, the Gators could have officially acknowledged him as one of their own late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
From this vantage, though, there are still steps remaining on Zaire’s sojourn to Florida would seem to be formalities, if important ones: He will enroll in classes, likely after being cleared to do so by Florida, and then Florida will announce that he has done so.
Until then, this still isn’t officially official.
Just, you know, unofficially official.