Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly recently made waves by saying that Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer should be back in college instead of entering the NFL Draft.
The comments seemed unnecessarily critical. But maybe they were not.
In an interview with ESPN Chicago 1000 FM’s “Kap and Co,” Kizer was asked to comment on Kelly’s opinion. His response was surprising.
“It’s honestly the truth,” Kizer said, as transcribed by Douglas Farmer of Inside the Irish. “I have two more years available [of college eligibility]. I’m only 21 years of age. There is a lot of growth for me. There’s a lot of growth for everyone in this draft. There’s a lot of guys out there who had to make big adjustments as they move into the NFL, and I know it. That’s why I’m not the No. 1 quarterback guaranteed walking into this draft as we speak.”
Indeed, Kizer is not the No. 1 quarterback. In fact, it’s far from a guarantee that he’ll even be a first round pick. That all raises a simple question. If Kizer knows this, why isn’t he back at Notre Dame?
If nothing else, let Kizer’s comments serve as a reminder that the lure of money is a big factor. While Kelly makes millions of dollars coaching the Fighting Irish, his players see none of it. They do get a free education and that is valuable. But to the players that have genuine NFL aspirations (like Kizer), every year in college is a year of lost revenue.
Even if he knows that it only makes virtually no football sense, it’s hard to fault Kizer for his decision.