Golson gets chance to replace Winston at Florida State

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Will Everett Golson Start at Florida State?


Everett Golson came oh-so close to beating Florida State with Notre Dame last year.

Now, he has another chance for victory at Doak Campbell Stadium — only this time, he'll be playing for the home team.

Golson is transferring to Florida State, where he will have the chance to replace Jameis Winston as the Seminoles' starting quarterback.

Golson said in a statement to Fox Sports on Tuesday he will spend his fifth year of eligibility with the Seminoles. Golson graduated from Notre Dame on Sunday and will be immediately eligible to play under NCAA graduate transfer rules that many college sports leaders are looking to change.

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Golson gets chance to replace Winston at Florida State
TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 08: Quarterback Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drops back to pass during the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Fighting Irish 55-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 08: Quarterback Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drops back to pass during the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Fighting Irish 55-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 08: Quarterback Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walks out onto the field before the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 18: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks to the sidelines against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 18, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 04: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Standford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 4, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Stanford 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 06: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pitches the ball against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 6, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 31-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish carries the ball against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 04: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish breaks away from Kevin Anderson #48 of the Standford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 4, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - AUGUST 30: Everett Golson #5 of the Norte Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Rice Owls at Notre Dame Stadium on August 30, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 03: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 3, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 13: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish tries to avoid the rush by Chase Thomas #44 of the Standford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 13, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 08: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs around end to try to score a touchdwon against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 8, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 08: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rolls out to look for a receiver against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 8, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 21-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 06: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish breaks away from Anthony Chickillo #71 of the Miami Hurricanes at Soldier Field on October 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 15: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish throws a third quarter pass as he is hit while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium Stadium on September 15, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. Notre Dame won the game 20-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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He also immediately becomes the most accomplished quarterback on Florida State's roster, with Winston gone to the NFL as the first pick in the draft.

"The support I've received there (Notre Dame) over the past four years has helped strengthen my integrity, wisdom and character," Golson told Fox Sports.

He picked Florida State after also visiting Florida and Georgia last week.

"I would like to thank all of the coaches who spent time speaking with me these past few weeks and considered adding me to their football programs," Golson said. "To coach Jimbo Fisher, the Florida State football team, staff, alumni and fans, thank you for allowing me to become part of the Seminoles family. I can't wait to get started."

Sean Maguire, a junior who started one game as Winston's backup last season, finished spring practice as the Seminoles' No. 1 quarterback and coach Jimbo Fisher said last week nothing would be guaranteed to Golson if he decided to come to Florida State. Maguire won his only start last season as Florida State rallied to beat Clemson 23-17 in overtime without the suspended Winston.

Golson helped Notre Dame reach the BCS championship game as a redshirt freshman and first-year starter in 2012. He missed the 2013 season because of an academic violation, but returned to Notre Dame last year and threw for 3,445 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also committed 22 turnovers — two more than Winston.

The highs and lows of Golson's season were on display in Tallahassee, Florida, last October when Florida State and Notre Dame met in a matchup of undefeated teams.

Golson passed 313 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. With 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Golson threw a short touchdown pass to give Notre Dame the lead, but it was wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty that had Fighting Irish coaches livid.

That loss sent Notre Dame into a tailspin to end the regular season, losing four of its last five with a wildly inconsistent Golson.

The mistakes cost him the starting job. Malik Zaire started the Music City Bowl and Golson played a supporting role in the Fighting Irish's 31-28 postseason victory against LSU.

The two competed for the job during spring practice for Notre Dame and coach Brian Kelly never did declare a winner. Golson made the choice for him by deciding to leave.

Golson, a South Carolina native, considered transferring to several teams in the South, but getting into a Southeastern Conference school was going to be complicated. The SEC has a rule prohibiting its schools from taking graduate transfers who have had significant disciplinary or eligibility issues. Golson was suspended by Notre Dame in 2013 for what he has called poor academic judgment.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has no such restrictions.

At Florida State, Golson joins a team that is retooling after going 27-1 with a BCS national championship and a playoff appearance the last two seasons. Winston led the way, winning the Heisman in 2013.

Winston and 10 of his teammates were selected in last month's NFL draft, but the Seminoles are not without talent. Golson joins Dalvin Cook, who ran for 1,008 yards as a freshman in 2014, and three talented receivers (Jesus Wilson, Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane), who combined for 93 catches and nine touchdowns last season.

"YESSSSS!!! Welcome to the family EG!" Florida State star safety Jalen Ramsey tweeted Tuesday. "#Nolenation. The Rich Keep Getting Richer!"

Florida State is the second playoff team from last season to replace a Heisman winner with a graduate transfer quarterback. Oregon signed FCS All-America Vernon Adams away from Eastern Washington earlier this year.

Golson and Adams could be among the last players to take advantage of the NCAA's version of free agency. Many decision-makers are working to eliminate the graduate transfer exception that allows athletes to change schools without sitting out a season.

For now, it has provided two of the most intriguing stories of the upcoming season and given Golson one last chance at redemption in Tallahassee.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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