By TOM COYNE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Quarterback Everett Golson is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame.
University spokesman Dennis Brown said Saturday night that Golson, who had three years of eligibility left after not playing as a freshman, was no longer enrolled at Notre Dame as of Friday. Brown says he couldn't comment on why because of federal privacy laws.
Golson helped lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated regular season and the BCS title game last season as a first-time starter.
The departure leaves a major question mark at a position where coach Brian Kelly was expecting to see major improvement in an offense that struggled for much of last season, with the Irish finishing 54th in the nation in total offense, including 71st in passing offense. The most likely replacement is Tommy Rees, the 2011 starter who came in to play key roles in victories over Purdue, Michigan, Stanford and Brigham Young when Golson either struggled or was injured.
But Rees lacks the mobility that Kelly likes and struggled with turnovers as a starter two seasons ago. The other possibilities are senior Andrew Hendrix, who has seen limited action but is more mobile than Rees and has two seasons of eligibility left, and freshman Malik Zaire. Gunner Kiel didn't take part in spring practices with the Irish and has enrolled at Cincinnati.
Golson was 187 of 318 passing, a 58.8 completion rate, with 12 touchdown passes and six interceptions as the Irish went 12-1 last season, losing 42-14 loss to Alabama in the championship game. He had a pass efficiency rating of 131.01, placing him 62nd among quarterbacks nationwide. But after a year of quarterback controversy a year earlier, Golson was locked in as the starter for the upcoming season until the news broke Saturday.
It's the latest in a string of bad news for the Irish this year, starting with the blowout loss to Alabama, leaving many to question whether the Irish were as close to challenging for a national title as they appeared to be when they finished the regular season 12-0 and were ranked No. 1 for the first time in nearly two decades. Then soon after the embarrassing loss, news broke about linebacker Manti Te'o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, was duped into an Internet romance with a girlfriend he never met who turned out to be a man pretending to be the woman.