If he had stayed, that would be his best hope. Of course, he'd have to be ready to seize the opportunity--something, Hendrix, for example, was unable to do.
Zaire had to loom large in the rearview mirror. One thing that impresses me about Zaire is his competitiveness. He picks the kid just ahead of him, and goes all out to beat him. That's basically what he did with the kid who is going to Michigan, Shane whatever. Anyone just ahead of Zaire on the depth chart is going to have his hands full.