- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Having picked up his latest offer on Monday, junior quarterback Malik Zaire (Kettering, Ohio/Archbishop Alter) now could be only a little more than a month away from making a decision.
Zaire, a member of the ESPNU Watch List, received an offer from Notre Dame on Monday, and the Irish are among his early finalists.
“I don’t have any order, but my top five would probably be Ohio State, Nebraska, Pitt, Notre Dame and Wisconsin,” Zaire said. “… I’ll probably make my decision by the end of March, beginning of April, hopefully, depending on how the visits go.”
Zaire’s next visit will be to Nebraska in March, and he plans to make it out to Notre Dame later that month and hopefully to Wisconsin.
The offer from the Irish came as Zaire was on his way back from a visit to Pittsburgh.
“I talked to coach [Chuck] Martin, the quarterbacks and offensive coordinator, and he was talking about how they only offered one other guy in my grade,” the lefty Zaire said. “They only offered two, and I am one of them.
“… They said I can move around and still keep my eyes downfield, and [the staff liked] the overall athleticism with the textbook fundamentals.”
Already with a number of offers from across the Big Ten and Midwest, Zaire called the Notre Dame offer “an honor.”
“For someone who grows up and wants to be looked at by all those places you seen on TV and of being a part of the whole process, it’s a blessing and I’m thankful for it,” he said.
Though the Notre Dame offer might have stolen the headlines, Zaire thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Pitt.
“Everything at Pitt was nice,” he said. “I liked the academics, and I strengthened my relationship with coach [Paul] Chryst and coach [Joe] Rudolph.
“… I went to Heinz Field and saw how they’re associated with the Steelers. I saw [Steelers] coach [Mike] Tomlin and the owner.”
It won’t be long before Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and the rest of Zaire’s suitors know if they will land the talented southpaw. Zaire is planning to take three more visits before making a decision.
513dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert