Editor’s note: This is the 26th year that Fighting Irish Preview has been publishing the “All-time Irish Hero” series. From Gipp to Golson and beyond, hundreds of past Notre Dame players have been so honored. This season, the focus is on Irish quarterbacks from 1988 to the present.
DeShone Kizer was a three-sport star in high school. He cracked the starting line-up at Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio in basketball as a freshman, and batted clean-up on the baseball team. But it was on the football field where he really made his mark. He was rated as the 9th best dual threat quarterback in the nation in 2014 after throwing and rushing for 73 touchdowns as a three-year starter. at Central Catholic.
The 6-4, 235 Kizer came to Notre Dame and redshirted as a Freshman. He started 2015 as the back up to Malike Zaire. But then fate intervened and Zaire went down with an injury in the second game of the season against Virginia. Kizer then took over and in storybook fashion rallied the Irish to a a come from behind victory that culminated with just 12 seconds remaining when he tossed a 39-yard TD pass to the speedy Will Fuller. Kizer rocketed from obscurity to Fighting Irish lore.
He went on to lead the Irish to a strong 10-3 record that year and had 2900 yards passing, 21 TD passes, and another 520 yards and 10 scores on the ground. The running numbers were at the time an all-time single season Notre Dame record for a quarterback.
In 2016 he posted another outstanding statistical year after fighting off a quarterback controversy with the returning Zaire. He threw 32 touchdown passes, threw for another 2900 yards and had 8 TDs and 541 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, the bottom line in 2016 was a 4-8 disaster for the Irish in the win/loss column.
Kizer declared early for the NFL draft and went in the second round to the Cleveland Browns and since has spent time with the Packer, Raiders and Titans.
Good size, strong armed-accurate passer, fast and powerful runner, KIzer had only a two-year playing career at ND. But he left his mark on the Notre Dame record books. He holds the in The ND record for most offensive yards per-game at 272, and is ranked in the top five of 20 game, season or career quarterback records.
DeShone Kizer, another Fighting Irish Preview All Time Irish Hero.