Heisman Trophy Watch 2015: Where top 15 candidates ranked as recruits

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Dec 30, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire (8) passes during the second half against the LSU Tigers in the Music City Bowl at LP Field. Notre Dame won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Player: Malik Zarie
247Sports Overall Composite Ranking: No. 168
Position Ranking: No. 5
Heisman Odds: +2,000

As a recruit, Zaire was a coveted quarterback. A four-star recruit in the class of 2013, he was part of a deep quarterback class that included J.T. Barrett and Kenny Hill , he was a classic case of a young quarterback who moved up the ranks, taking admirable numbers and blossoming by his senior year. In his sophomore campaign, he started off slow, appearing in 10 games and completing 9-28 passes for 110 yards and an interception.

In his junior campaign, he showed tremendous progression, passing for 729 yards, and five touchdowns in 11 games played. It was during his senior year that he made a name for himself passing for 1,632 yards and 21 touchdowns to only four interceptions in nine contests.

Coming out of high school, he notched 12 offers in total, including ones from the likes of Alabama and Ohio State. Recruited by Chuck Martin, Zaire visited the program on November 17, 2012 and received a visit from head coach Brian Kelly before committing. Once he did so, he enrolled on January 15.

With the commitment, the Irish ’13 class ranked No. 5 in the country and tops among independent programs. Furthermore, they continued to make the most of the momentum spearheaded by their magical, undefeated 2012 season.

Next: Braxton Miller