DeShone Kizer said he’s watched every game from Notre Dame’s 2016 season multiple times. In fact, the quarterback is still going over the film.
His main takeaway from the hours spent watching the 4-8 season? He has to be better.
“I just didn’t make enough plays,” Kizer told reporters Friday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “The ball is in my hand every play. It’s my job at Notre Dame to put us in a position to win games and to trust in the guys around me and develop the guys around me to make those plays with me.”
Kizer appeared confident and composed during his media session Friday afternoon. Kizer arrived in Indianapolis this week and measured in at 6-foot-4 1/4, 233 pounds with 9 7/8-inch hands. He’ll run his 40-yard dash and go through other drills Saturday, as well as throw in front of NFL teams.
The Toledo, Ohio, native, made headlines Thursday when first-year San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said Kizer "blew the doors off" his Wednesday interview with the team.
“I’m pretty comfortable with opening up and expressing who I am as a guy and how I plan on going about this process,” Kizer said of his interview with the 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick. “They had a lot of questions about last season and how a guy who has the size, has the arm strength goes and becomes 4-8. I responded in the way that I thought was the honest truth and from what I understand they were pretty impressed with that.”
Kizer, who started for two seasons with the Irish, is competing with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky to be the first passer drafted.
Kizer said that he's the best quarterback available and he's “absolutely” ready to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL.
“As a battle-ready guy, I’ve seen a lot,” he said. “My shortcoming as a Notre Dame quarterback, only playing for two seasons, I’ve seen quite a bit. I was able to play in the snow. I was able to play in the rain. I was able to win games we were supposed to win. I was able to experience a not-so-good season. I’ve learned from it all and all those experiences will prepare me to be able to play hopefully in that first game next season.
“Playing at Notre Dame is the biggest stage in college football, especially being the quarterback there. Not only are you representing the 80,000 people that are in that stadium, but you’re also representing the second-biggest Catholic institution in the world. That international fanbase, there’s a lot of responsibility for a quarterback. I was able to take that, own it and make it mine.”
Kizer also spoke about his choice to go into a “bunker mentality” in the pre-draft process. He said he’s chosen not to take any marketing deals as well as stay off social media and out of the public spotlight.
That hasn’t been easy, he said.
“It’s very difficult. There’s a lot of temptations out there,” Kizer said. “A lot of media questions that are going to come across and a lot of opportunities to make money. Being a guy whose coming from the NCAA who was living on my cost of attendance check and now having opportunities to make those dimes, it does become a little difficult to pass up on those opportunities.
“I bought into that bunker mentality and that’s the best thing for me. The confidence I have right now in my ability to throw the ball and my ability to talk the game and understand the game is greater than it’s ever been and I look forward to showing to these teams during the week.”
Stay tuned to Blue & Gold Illustrated for more coverage of the NFL Combine.