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Add QB Gunner Kiel to the list of weekend visitors

Oct 21, 2011, 4:41 PM EDT

Gunner Kiel

In a weekend packed with enough recruiting stars to make even Tom Lemming’s head explode, the Irish will have to make room for one more five-star.

Touted blue-chip quarterback Gunner Kiel has decided to open up his recruitment and take a visit to Notre Dame for the weekend. The Columbus, Indiana native with family ties to the Irish picked the Indiana Hoosiers and new head coach Kevin Wilson months ago, where his brother Dusty is battling for the starting quarterback job.

Steve Wiltfong, formerly of the Irish beat and currently a national reporter for, broke the story:

Columbus (Ind.) East five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel called Indiana coach Kevin Wilson on Thursday night and told him he’s reevaluating his commitment to the Hoosiers program.

The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Kiel committed to Indiana back in July over a national offer list from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC and Wisconsin.

“I’m just reevaluating my decision and plan on taking some future visits to other colleges,” Kiel told 247Sports on Friday morning.

That first visit will be an unofficial on Saturday to Notre Dame for the USC game.

With the news rippling through the recruiting blogosphere (Gunner Kiel was trending nationally on Twitter this afternoon), Tyler James and Bob Wieneke of the South Bend Tribune’s Irish Sports Report got a good quote from Kiel’s mother:

“It’s a hard decision to come to, and this is his future and these are his plans,” Aleta Kiel, Gunner’s mother, said Friday. “So at this time, he wanted to talk to Coach Wilson, and he did that last night.

“At this time he’s just re-evaluating everything and kind of opening everything up. He wants to make sure that he’s 100 percent sure where he goes.”

The Irish haven’t taken a quarterback in this recruiting class and were pretty selective with their offers. Yet they must have continued to chase Kiel and it’s possible that Tommy Rees’ ascension to the top of the depth chart made Kiel feel like the line was a little bit shorter, with Dayne Crist’s return unlikely.

Kiel is widely regarding as one of the top two quarterbacks in the country.



  1. ndfanwabashman - Oct 21, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    The line may be shorter but it’s not any easier. This is a big name but not a huge need. With Rees, Hendrix and Golson ND is set at QB for a few years and while it’s always nice to have options I’m thinking the coaching staff will spend a few more minutes talking with the wide receivers this weekend.

    • txbeej - Oct 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      Yeah, I agree completely. One of the Messrs. Marshall committing would be a much bigger deal to me.

      • Jennifer - Oct 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM

        Disagree. Different quarterbacks, different talents. This guy is the real deal, and would be a great addition to ND QB depth. (Do feel sorry for IU, though. It’s a big loss for them…)

    • nudeman - Oct 22, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      It’s probably hard to say “no thanks” to a kid like this, who’s supposed to be a huge talent. But I wonder how badly Kelly will want him, vs some of the other skill players he’s looking at.
      You can easily make the case that ND is “set” at QB for the next few years. In fact most would agree that:

      1) The current depth chart is upside down, with the 2 most talented guys on the bench (Hendrix and Golson)
      2) Kiel, a drop back pro style type, isn’t Kelly’s ideal player.
      3) With probably 4 years of eligibility after this season, the future belongs to Golson.

      Another possibility is that get Kiel and move Golson to another position. At some point that kid has to see the field.

      Or maybe you do in fact say “no thanks” and use the scholarship on a stud lineman or 5 star skill player.

      Regardless, this is a good problem to have.

  2. irishfan2791 - Oct 21, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Hendrix is the Quarterback that is going to win us a Championship! We need to Load up on the Offensive Line and Defense everywhere, think SEC (Bama and LSU) Amazing D with a running game, that wins Championships. Get Bigger and Faster than the other guys and Coach Kelly has proven he can develop talent. I think as needs go 1. Armstead 2. Spence 3. K.Marshall 4. Green-Beckham and then O and D line baby. I think we will finish with a Top 3 class this year and a top 5 team (after a 10-2 season and BCS win) Good things are coming for Notre Dame!!!!! GO IRISH!!!!!!

  3. 10of14 - Oct 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    How do you know Hendrix is the man? Take away one 80 yard run last week and then tell me how he has earned the “he is the greatest” label? Kiel’s credentials and national rankings are WAY ahead of Hendrix when he was a HS QB. Go get Kiel and then we will see who the best truly is…game on.

  4. barneysbullet - Oct 21, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Watch Gunner’s youtube highlights…

    Peyton Manning 2.0 – seriously.

    Gunner…WELCOME TO ND!!

  5. bernhtp - Oct 22, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    With a redshirt year, Kiel would be two years behind Hendrix and three behind Rees, though probably only one behind Golson assuming he continues to sit out the year (really good bet).

    It seems like Kiel is wanting to figure out whether he wants to be a big fish in a small pond (IU) or wait, develop, and compete for the big time. The ND-USC game under the lights and prime time national TV will give him a taste of the latter.

  6. papadec - Oct 22, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    I don’t understand why QB Gunner Kiel would pick IU, in the first place, “where his brother Dusty is battling for the starting quarterback job.” I would welcome him to ND for the reasons stated by bernhtp. Looking at what has happened to ND QBs with injuries, and borrowing from another sport – you never have enough good pitching.

  7. seanb20124 - Oct 22, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Go west young man go west

  8. NDfan1224 - Oct 22, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    GO ND!

  9. barneysbullet - Oct 22, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Welcome back nudeman…

    I agree w/you that he’s a pro-style passer, but… his highlights show he can tuck and run very, very effectively, so methinks he would be a good fit for Kelly and Molnar…whad’ya say?

    Irish by 2 TD’s tonight…

    • nudeman - Oct 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      I predicted 33-21 Irish on another blog, and I’ll stick with that.
      Haven’t been this excited for an ND game in a LONG time.

      I could go either way on Kiel. You can never be too good at QB, but there’s only room for one guy to play at a time. Seems to me like Golson is PERFECT for Kelly’s offense; even more so than Hendrix.

      Keep in mind that if they do make Kiel an offer, that’s one less offer to a stud OL, DL, or skill player.

      Like I said this is a GOOD problem to have.

  10. 1historian - Oct 22, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    If this kid is as good as they say he is and he commits to ND you can bet your whatever that he will attract wide receivers.

    After the loss to SC everything is back up in the air. They looked terrible. USC pushed them around. You can bet that they USC players are telling themselves that last year was just a mistake and that they have ND’s number, and that case can be made.

  11. 1historian - Oct 22, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Rees is as good as he can be but he is not the kind of kid that ignites an offense or a team when the game is on the line.

    I hope I am wrong.

  12. 1historian - Oct 22, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    If you have a good chance at a stud QB, which Kiel is by all accounts, you ALWAYS go for him.

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