Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire will switch to former teammate Jaylon Smith’s No. 9 jersey next season, according to a post on his private Instagram page.
Zaire previously wore No. 8 and though switching to No. 9 may seem a bit soon, Smith said he was fine with Zaire’s decision.
“I am going out on the record saying that the #9 legacy will carry on,” Smith said, per Irish Sports Daily. “Malik Zaire will be wearing #9 this upcoming fall. That’s my guy. All the way from the ‘IrishMob13.’ Malik said he would hold it down.”
A former star linebacker for the Fighting Irish, Smith wore No. 9 proudly as he accumulated 284 tackles across three seasons in South Bend. Zaire will hope to carry some of the lightning that number has with him in 2016, as he missed all but two games last season due to a broken ankle.
Given how great a leader Smith was on the field, here’s hoping Zaire can carry on that tradition in wearing No. 9.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports