Zaire announces on Instagram that he’s coming to Florida

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Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire
In this file photo, Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire (9) runs against Stanford in October. Zaire announced on his Instagram account that he's headed to the University of Florida. [AP file]

Graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire is coming to Florida.
Zaire announced on his Instagram account Tuesday he’s headed to UF.
“Official, I couldn’t be happier to be a part of something special!!!! Time to get to work!!!!,” Zaire wrote.
Florida officials say they could not confirm Zaire’s signing until he’s enrolled in and attends class. The Summer B session starts next Monday.
The 6-foot, 225-pound Zaire appeared in 15 games in three seasons at Notre Dame, passing for 816 yards with six TDs and no interceptions.
Zaire will join a crowded quarterback competition at UF that includes redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, redshirt freshman Kyle Trask, redshirt junior Luke Del Rio and incoming freshmen Jake Allen and Kadarius Toney, an early enrollee who played in the spring game.
The Gators open the season Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas against Michigan.
Franks started UF’s spring game, completing 8 of 14 passes for 119 yards with one TD. Trask completed 6 of 15 passes for 31 yards with an interception. Toney completed 3 of 5 passes for 24 yards with one TD and added 74 yards rushing. Del Rio underwent shoulder surgery during the offseason and sat out the spring game.
Zaire will join Del Rio as the second quarterback on the roster with collegiate experience. The lefty from Kettering, Ohio, started against LSU in the 2014 Music Bowl and earned game MVP honors, completing 12 of 15 passes and rushing for 96 yards in the win over the Tigers. Then, in Notre Dame’s season opener in 2015 against Texas, Zaire passed for 313 yards and three TDs, competing 19 of 22 passes in the 38-3 win.
But Zaire suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the second game of the 2015 season at Virginia and in 2016 lost the ND starting job to DeShone Kizer, who was picked in the second round by the Cleveland Browns in April’s NFL draft.
Zaire also had interest in Texas and Wisconsin, but waited until the SEC revised its graduate transfer rules in late May to join the Gators. Florida had been under a three-year ban to accept grad transfers due to a pair of former UF grad transfer players not making adequate academic progress. But at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, schools decided to change the restriction from three years to one, opening the door for Zaire to come to UF.
Last season, Florida turned to a graduate transfer quarterback, Austin Appleby, when Del Rio went down with knee and shoulder injuries. In seven starts, Appleby passed for 1,447 yards with 10 TDs and seven interceptions.
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or kevin.brockway@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway’s blog at Gatorsports.com.