Quarterback Gunner Kiel has decided to transfer away from Notre Dame after just one year on campus. The freshman redshirted during the 2012 season after enrolling early from high school last year. Kiel gained notoriety during his recruitment by committing and de-committing to both Indiana and LSU before finally landing in South Bend.
Kiel’s departure from Notre Dame comes as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about his situation. The kid went so far as to schedule to enroll early at LSU before backing out to go to Notre Dame at the absolute last minute. Instead of informing LSU that he wasn’t coming, Kiel just didn’t show up for his first meeting on campus. That lead LSU head coach Les Miles went on to blast Kiel for his decision and questioned his leadership ability.
Our sources close to the Kiel family never thought Gunner would last with the Tigers or Irish, so this development was long expected by many.
In 2012, Kiel was part of an open competition for the starting quarterback job at Notre Dame, but lost out to redshirt freshman Everett Golson. He was also buried on the depth chart behind junior Tommy Rees and redshirt sophomore Andrew Hendrix. The Irish welcomed early enrollee quarterback Malik Zaire this year, so it will be crowded under center in South Bend.
While Kiel was regarded as one of the top high school prospects in the nation in 2012, I have always thought he was extremely overrated (see another example here). I covered him numerous times during his career at East High School in Columbus, Indiana and was never blown away.
Kiel has good size at 6’4″ and 220 pounds, and possesses a solid arm, but he isn’t particularly accurate and doesn’t seem to have the feel for the position that separates top quarterbacks. Rivals rated him a five-star prospect during his senior year, and ranked him as the top pro-style quarterback in the nation and the 20th prospect overall. Frankly I considered him a decent signal-caller in a terribly weak class.
According to several sources, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Ball State will likely be in the mix for Kiel now that he is leaving Notre Dame. Indiana will likely put in some effort to land him, but bridges were definitely burned when Kiel de-committed from the Hoosiers and it’s probably not a good fit at this point.
Leaving Notre Dame is just the latest chapter in the Gunner Kiel saga and we get the feeling that story isn’t close to being done yet.