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Malik Zaire’s release from Notre Dame is unconditional

Not surprisingly, there’s already a market for what’s expected to be one of the most sought-after transfers of the upcoming offseason. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s been an apparent about-face when it comes to said player’s restrictions.

Earlier this week it was reported that Malik Zaire would be granted a release from his Notre Dame scholarship, with the quarterback’s intent being to transfer and use his final season of eligibility elsewhere. Following a meeting with head coach Brian Kelly Wednesday, that request was granted -- albeit with reported stipulations.

Zaire had confirmed to ESPN.com that he would not be permitted to transfer to any program on Notre Dame’s 2017 schedule, with the exception of North Carolina. That initially meant that Temple, Georgia, Boston College, Michigan State, Miami of Ohio, USC, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Miami (Fla.), Navy and Stanford would’ve been off-limits for Zaire.

However, since that initial report, it’s been updated to state that Zaire has been granted an unconditional release. It’s unclear if Zaire was mistaken in stating that there were conditions on his release or if the football program subsequently relented.

Florida, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin are believed to be among the list of potential transfer destinations. UNC, depending on Mitch Trubisky‘s NFL decision, could be a possibility as well.

“I just want, of course, to do what I wanted to do at Notre Dame, and that’s win a national championship,” Zaire told the South Bend Tribune Wednesday said when discussing his next move. “For me, it’s finding the best fit where I can help bring the team something that I can add and help bring a national championship. I felt like I could do that at Notre Dame, and I still feel the same way.

“I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the country. This opportunity is good for me. I’ve got one shot to do it, and you only need one shot to do it. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Zaire expects to graduate in December, meaning he’d be eligible immediately at whatever FBS program he ultimately lands.