As time ticks down on National Signing Day, we caught up with CFB Analyst - and former Notre Dame starting QB - Malik Zaire to get his thoughts on the man who will be replacing an Irish football legend.
During our chat with Malik - who committed to Notre Dame as a 4-star in 2013 - he gave his thoughts on the impact that Buechner could have in the absence of Ian Book and what it means to earn a spot to play for the Fighting Irish.
How do you think the Irish did on National Signing Day? Any guys you’re especially excited about?
Malik Zaire: Yeah. I was super excited about the whole class. Anytime you can finish, what was it, in the top 10 (in the nation) or close to it, I think it's a testament to the consistency of what coach Kelly is able to put together.
And then, you know, replacing the guy that has the most wins in Notre Dame history is something that is hard to do. But, you're getting a kid in Tyler Buechner from out in California- and he's not only going to be a game-changer, but he's going to add a lot of excitement to this class.
Question: Where could Tyler sit among on the list of great Notre Dame quarterbacks of the last 20 years?
MZ: Yeah, I think he's got a lot of potential. Obviously, when you go to Notre Dame - you really go to make the most out of it. Not everybody gets that chance to hit that mark, but, Tyler Buechner has the tools - he's got the fame coming in. He's got all the things that would be a recipe for a potential successful career like a Jimmy Clauson or a Brady (Quinn). So, if you got more hype coming than in the most-winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history - I mean, you got a chance to do some great things.
You’ve said it in Instagram posts and Instagram stories - that looking back, your class "is the best Irish recruiting class ever" - how will this one compare?
MZ: I believe our class is one of the best that's ever been through Notre Dame. And that's based off of just the results. But, (Tyler) gets a chance with his class to go in there and prove something themselves as a top class through to come to Notre Dame. So, it's not enough to just be signed at the beginning. You gotta have some great results at the end of it.
Going from even a huge high school with a lot of hype to Notre Dame, it’s got to be a big shift. What can a quarterback expect?
MZ: Yeah. You're going to be dressed around on a lot of fancy and nice stuff and cool accolades and traditions. For you to really take advantage of all of it, you just got to really live in the moment, man, and not take anything for granted. You'll get pretty comfortable being in a place where you get good food and you travel everywhere. You play everybody around the country. You know, Coach Kelly's a little bit of Hollywood, so at some point in your career or your time there, you're going to have some cameras following you.
So it's, uh, it's pretty cool to be able to be a part of that. The biggest thing that you got to understand when you go to Notre Dame is about winning games and championships. So far, coach Kelly has proven, at this rate, he can put together 9 and 10 win seasons with his classes. But, it's a lot of work that comes with that.
*Scotty Jenkins is a staff writer for GMTM covering college football. He grew up slowly in Nebraska in the midst of the Husker dynasty of the '90s... and has been aging rapidly ever since."