Malik Zaire waiting out SEC transfer rules, reportedly leaning towards Florida

Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire remains one of the biggest question marks going into the 2017 season. Previously a top recruit in the Class of 2013, Zaire had offers from SEC programs coming out of high school before committing to the Fighting Irish. Now he's eyeing the SEC again, as long as the league's transfer rules will permit him to play in 2017 as a graduate transfer. 

According to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman and Alex Wilcox, of WNDU, Zaire is "leaning towards" Florida as long as the SEC amends its current graduate transfer rules. 

Other schools, including Texas, have been considered potential landing spots for the former Notre Dame quarterback, but the longer he has waited to make a decision the more it has seemed like the top choice was going to be Florida or another SEC school.

He is presently unable to be accepted as a transfer by the Gators because the program had two prior graduate transfers not fulfill their academic requirements. As such, Florida was prohibited from accepting such a transfer for a three-year period ending after the 2018 season. The SEC is currently the only Power Five conference with such a restriction on graduate transfers, putting it at a competitive disadvantage.

If the SEC does not amend its rules, Zaire, a one-time starter in South Bend and former bowl game MVP, could join the crowded quarterback battle at Texas. 

If the SEC makes the changes that would allow him to play in 2017 as a graduate transfer, Florida appears to be getting an oft-injured veteran to rival redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks for the starting gig. 

The SEC spring meetings are underway in Destin, Florida, where amending those transfer rules are one of the big topics Dennis Dodd is tracking, along with potential division realignment and decisions about alcohol in stadiums

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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