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With classes set to begin, did the Irish flip two blue-chips?

Jan 16, 2012, 11:32 PM EDT

Gunner Kiel

You’ve got to hand it to Brian Kelly and his assistants. A year after reeling in the trio of Ishaq Williams, Stephon Tuitt, and Aaron Lynch in dramatic fashion, the Irish are close to landing two of the nation’s most heralded recruits, amidst even more extraordinary circumstances than last year.

With the spring semester set to start tomorrow, the Irish might have pulled a rabbit out of the hat: five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel might be headed to Notre Dame after all. Multiple website — though first reported by Steve Wiltfong of — are reporting that Kiel hasn’t enrolled in classes at LSU and instead will stay home in Indiana, giving Kelly and the Irish offense the No. 1 quarterback on their board in the most miraculous of fashions.

Less than three weeks ago, Kiel turned down the Irish and instead chose to enroll early at LSU, giving the nation’s top team one of the country’s best quarterbacks. Kiel impressed at the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, where nearly every report had Kiel ready to head to Baton Rouge where he’d give Les Miles a pro-style quarterback (something badly needed after watching the BCS National Championship game). But someone forgot to tell the Irish coaching staff that Kiel had decided where he’d spend the next four years, and even amidst a coaching transition that gutted the offensive side of the ball, the Irish did enough to make today’s flurry of reporting possible.

We won’t know if Kiel’s attending Notre Dame until he’s actually enrolled in classes, and while there’s plenty of smoke surrounding the story, there’s nothing definitive yet coming from the Kiel family. In a 36 hour period Irish fans went from being apoplectic about a recruiting class that was seemingly crumbling, with Ronald Darby opening things up and Taylor Decker choosing Ohio State, to potentially ecstatic as the Irish have potentially added the best quarterback in the class. And that might not even be the most important feat of the week, with the defensive side of the ball potentially hitting both short term and long term jackpots.

As the Pac-12’s recruiting landscape dramatically altered with Tosh Lupoi leaving Cal and heading to Steve Sarkisian’s Washington staff, Notre Dame looked more and more like the potential landing spot for Arik Armstead, one of the nation’s premiere defensive linemen. Armstead also likely comes with his older brother Armond, a former starter for USC that sat out this season after the school wouldn’t medically clear him after an undisclosed issue. Armond will have one year of eligibility remaining, and he visited Notre Dame Sunday and Monday with his father to meet with the coaching staff to discuss his role in the team’s future. Arik joined Armond at Auburn earlier this weekend, where the younger Armstead took his final recruiting visit before heading to a classroom this week. What classroom is still to be determined.

Arik’s enrolled at Cal, Notre Dame and Auburn, filling out the necessary paperwork so he can simply arrive on campus and attend classes. He’s reportedly eliminated Cal after the move of Lupoi to Washington, a shocking twist when you consider Cal was the odds-on favorite to land the two-sport star. The brothers reportedly will enroll as a package, and are waiting for the family to reunite tonight before making a decision.

There’s a chance that all of this doesn’t end well for the Irish, and all this glitter doesn’t turn into recruiting gold for the Irish. But more importantly, after a week of getting beat up by the Notre Dame faithful for the changes in the coaching staff and the perceived weakness in this recruiting class, it’s another stark reminder that Kelly has assembled a group of coaches that continually fight until the very end for players they truly want. (For instance, even though Jordan Westerkamp reconfirmed his commitment to Nebraska, that hasn’t stopped Notre Dame from going after him.)

While that dogged determination hasn’t brought enough wins to campus yet, it’s helping to build a program that’ll likely deliver more in the near future, especially if Monday’s magic turns out to be as promising as it seems.

UPDATE: 1:20 a.m. ETDouglas Farmer of Notre Dame’s school newspaper The Observer reports that Gunner Kiel is officially enrolled. He’s on campus and set to move into O’Neill Hall.


  1. trbowman - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    “GunnerKiel Gunner Kiel
    About to watch my Tigers take it to Alabama!! Geaux Tigers”


    What is this guy, a woman?

    As long as he doesn’t show up in a limo, welcome aboard.

    • ndfan12345 - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:31 AM

      Are you an ND fan or what? What is wrong with you?

      This guy could show up in a space ship for all I care, as long as he shows up. The last guy to show up in a limo turned out to be a pretty damned good QB for the Irish.

      Maybe you care more about public relations savvy than football talent, but any time the #1 qb in the country wants to show up to ND, I’ll say welcome aboard w/o the insults and caveats.

      • trbowman - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        You have a loose definition of “insult.”

      • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM


    • irish4006 - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      trbowman, I once half-jokingly said that you were Tommy’s mother; you (and Keith) were the only people who thought Tommy Rees was a pretty good qb. Now, I am convinced that you are indeed his mother (or Tommy Rees himself). That’s what the tr in your name stands for, isn’t it?

      • trbowman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:40 AM

        What of the ‘bowman’ part?

      • trbowman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:53 AM

        Regardless, I don’t know what my comment had to do with Rees.

        I believe he’s a solid QB by normal standards. A lot of programs would love to have Rees. At Notre Dame the expectations at quarterback are enormous, though. And Rees hasn’t lived up to those lofty standards.

        Arm strength and mobility, two of the most overrated qualities in a QB. I’m more concerned with his decision making than those two. I think he’s got several good qualities.

      • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        What has happened to all those posters in the “Tommy is 8-0 as a starter” club?

        Whoever said arm strength and mobility are overrated is somewhat right.
        Rees’ arm strength is actually acceptable. There might be a throw or two he can’t make, but so what?
        Montana didn’t have a howitzer and that worked out OK.

        His mobility is poor, which by itself isn’t even fatal.
        But when combined with his inability to read defenses and go through his progressions, it becomes fatally fatal.
        That means “very bad”.

        Hey, God bless TR.
        He gave ND all he has and the Gunner thing can’t be making him feel good right about now.

    • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:13 AM

      Geaux Gunner
      Welcome home, son.

      • ct111 - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        How do you think the qb situation will play out?? Do you think Andrew Hendrix can be the man to lead this team to a BCS??

      • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        My opinion on Hendrix: I am one of the few who thinks he’s not the answer.
        Don’t like his delivery (long motion) and was not impressed with his vision.
        It was not a huge body of work, so maybe unfair, and maybe I’m wrong. If so, fine.

        My guess is:
        1) Golson starts the season (If it’s Hendrix that’s OK; just not Tommy Rees)
        2) Kelly gradually works in Gunner with the infamous “package” (I hate that word)
        3) By year 2, Gunner is the starter full time

      • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        I think Kiel will either start or redshirt.

    • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      The Gunner issue is precisely why I believe you need to stay more engaged after posting a story.
      About a week ago, I asked you if you thought the Irish were still recruiting Gunner.

      This was a logical question because the kid’s uncle was an ND QB and Kelly & Co. have a history of 11th hour flips. We never heard back from you on this, and now WHAMMO … Gunner’s at ND.

      This is my favorite place to go for ND football news and I don’t want to post on 9 different sites. I’m sure your plate is plenty full already though, so if you don’t have the bandwidth, so be it. Understood.

      But frequently people ask good follow up questions here and they don’t get addressed by anyone other than followers who, like me, don’t have any inside info like you do.

      Hope you don’t mind the suggestion.

  2. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    I would like to thank Darby and Decker for freeing up some spots. Not only for Kiel and Armstead but for the other irons we still have in the fire.

    • ndfan12345 - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM

      I would like Darby and Decker to know we still have spots for them! If the Kiel and Armstead rumors are true, I will never rule anyone out until NSD… and ever after (we got Prestwood and Carlisle, after all). These guys saw something they liked in ND, and here’s to hoping the Irish staff can remind them what that was.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:56 AM

        Agreed. Yeah, what are you gonna do, not let them reconsider? I said a couple of weeks ago that I thought our biggest recruiting problem was going to be finding space for everybody who wanted to get on board. Seems like the class is now filling up faster than an Italian lifeboat.

    • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      F%&^%& Decker

      You’ve “figured things out?”
      And going to a school that is on probation with grad rates of 52% and 62% the last 2 years is where you’re finding your inspiration now?

      Good luck with that.


  3. oldestguard - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    I like the action…

    This is going to end up good !!

  4. borromini - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Hey Keith,

    Is it just me or has this site lost the link for subsequent page of comments? The two previous articles have 50 or more comments, but I can’t see them all and there used to be a link for the next page of comments when it reaches a certain number of comments and I don’t see it.

  5. borromini - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    The quotes in the following article point to Kiel’s mom as the deciding factor for Gunner enrolling at ND.

    BTW, it’s already been posted by ND students on other sites that Gunner is on campus tonight and staying at O’Neill Hall.

    • trbowman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:06 AM

      Thanks mom.

    • trentnd - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:41 AM

      Thanks for the link to the article… Interesting to read that LSU lost three major recruits prior to their championship loss. Kids jumping from school to school happens at every program, not just ND. Can’t wait to see how things turn out on NSD!

      Go IRISH!!

  6. trbowman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    “Nooo! Please stay at LSU!”


    Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson.

    • papadec - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:33 AM

      Awwwwwwwwwwww c’mon – that was a funny post – it didn’t deserve thumbs down.

  7. sweetnd - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Keil seems official. Reports are that he has moved into Oneil Hall and also confirmed by Observer (ND student news paper).
    Welcome to the ND family Gunner! You’re going to love it! Go Irish!

  8. irisheyesinsd - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    I can’t wait to hear the Kiel family talk about what caused them to pull out of LSU at the last minute. Very interesting. Great win for Irish recruiting. Welcome to ND, Gunner!

    Hope we get the Armsteads….I think we will know in a few more hours. I wonder if Lupoi’s move to UW will get ND back in the picture with DB Shaq Thompson and WR Jordan Payton?

  9. papadec - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    YES – YES – YES – YES – YES!!!!!!!!!!! HOT DAMN. Momma knows best. And hasn’t that been the case with several recruits over the years? I wonder how the Kiel decision, and coaching moves around the country will impact other recruits/commits.

    • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Did you just climax all over our board? Sick dude!

      • papadec - Jan 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        dick – Excited? Joyous? YES! Climaxed – NO. I thought Keith was sending you an email to clean up your act. I assume you’re looking in a mirror with the “Sick Dude!” comment.

  10. brendanunderscoreg - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    Awesome news here. Landing the #1 QB should help reel in some other big fish, too.

    Anyone else concerned about how a “pro-style” QB would fit into a spread attack, though? Even if he doesn’t fit in that well the bump in positive momentum alone is worth it.

    Go Irish!

    • bernhtp - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      Gunner’s highlight reel shows him to be very mobile. I don’t expect a lot of read option, but he is dangerous on the roll and will take the ball downfield himself when things break down. Relative to recent ND QBs, he reminds me most of Brady Quinn.

      • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        Kelly will have to “tweak” his “spread” for sure to fully take advantage of his strengths. I believe the best of coaches are the ones that are willing to make the necessary adjustments to its own “system” to fit the players instead of constantly trying to make the players fit the system. I am not saying there needs to be comlete overhaul but easy simple “tweaks” can be made to accomodate the talent that you have on the team, especially for such a important position such as QB. I just get the feeling that BK is VERY reluctant to do this most of the time. He still thinks that we’re at cincinnati and he does not “harness” the talent he has on the team as much as he could. We shall see.

        Another thing to consider is that BK could be gone by his sophomore year so the new coach will at least have “something” to work with.

      • bernhtp - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        You always need to tweak the system around your specific talent profile, but there is frankly WAY less tweaking needed with Kiel (or Hendrix or Golson) than with Rees given that he can run, throw on the run, get big yards on play breakdowns, and even throw long.

  11. mattnef - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    This time of year is becoming must-watch twitter. Truly incredible the work that Kelly and company must be doing on the trail.
    My question is this: Who is this Tosh Lupoi and if he was for hire, why didn’t Notre Dame hire him? The dude seems to be a recruiting force. He leaves Cal and the whole class falls apart. Thanks Washington!

  12. gtizzo - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    I asked “who is this years Troy Niklas”? Looks like its Gunner Kiel. This Tosh Lupoi wasn’t suppose to leave Cal, it came as a shocker to Cal and there recruiting class. Brain Kelly needs to get on the phone to kids like Shaq Thompson and others. A DT McCarthy has already switched his commit to UCLA and the class could be shaken up even more. This guy was close to most of the recruiting class and could take it with him to Washington or Cal might see other recruits flip.

  13. gtizzo - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    More on Lupoi his title at Washington is Defensive run game Coordinator…HUH? Could someone explain that one to me I have never heard of that. Huge boost to his wallet going to Washington and I guess this title is better then his old one.

    • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      He basically got a raise from making $160k/yr. to $500k/yr. I’d make that jump. Wouldn’t you?

  14. bernhtp - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I hope the Kiel news helps us land a top WR like Nelson Agholor. WR and DB are big areas of need.

  15. ct111 - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Agree! There is no point in getting the #1 QB if you don’t have quality receivers to throw to. Come on DGB!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. irishbuckeye - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    DGB? Get real. Notre Dame was never truly in the running for his services. Turn your attention to Agholor. He would be a perfect compliment to Greenberry.

  17. ct111 - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    We were never in the running for manti te’o……and we all saw how that played out.

    • borromini - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      ct111, not the same situation at all. With Teo…we were always on his list and ended up as one of three finalists and he visited the school. With DGB…ND has never been noted on any of his lists and he has no plans to visit.

  18. runners00 - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    It’s hard to tell what it going on this recruiting season. It looks like we have a strong quarterback in the class, which is great news, but we’re also struggling to keep some of the other members of the class.

    I do think that Kiel is wise to head to South Bend for a number of reasons. LSU has a great class following up like five years of great classes. How likely is he to see a lot of time? Plus, it’s pretty clear that the kid’s Mom wants to be able to see him play periodically, which is convenient because South Bend is not too far from Columbus (much closer than Baton Rouge). And, it’s certain that a degree from Notre Dame is much more valuable than a degree from LSU. If only Decker and Darby would follow suit things would start to shape up nicely.

    • bernhtp - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      We need Darby more than Decker. We need someone like Algohor more than Decker. Getting the Armsteads is also way, way bigger than losing Decker. The loss of Decker mostly stings because of who did it and the way it was done more than the substance of the loss itself.

  19. bernhtp - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Goodman has been granted a fifth year. My guess is that he graduated in Dec and needed a commitment to stick around this semester and beyond.

    I hope that he is to be used as receiver and not punt returner. It would be great for John to have a Jonas Gray type of year.

    • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      OH lord, why oh why….

  20. gtizzo - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    The ship on DGB sailed long ago, I think he ends up at Mizzou. Anyway Gunner’s application has been accepted he set to enroll according Irish Illustrated. Shaq Thomson has said “he has a lot to think about” when asked about his commit to Cal. Just to add another fish to the Irish possible catches before signing day. There also seems to be some who believe that ND is the frontrunner for the Armsteads. The saga of ND recruiting rolls on…

    • papadec - Jan 17, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      gtizzo – there is an item @ Irish Sports Daily regarding the Armstead family recruitment. As far as Armond is concerned – ND has to iron out some things. My guess is that means accepting a transfer student that has graduated from another school – for one year, in a Graduate program. I would have expected any medical related issues to have been resolved before the visit, this past weekend.

  21. nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Does anybody have a link to a story about the supposed meltdown at LSU between Miles and their OC about the QB? Supposedly this was part of the reason Gunner left. That and his mom.

    I’d love to read this.

    • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      here’s the article

      • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        TYI, all of you non dick asman faithfuls out there should know that I have predicted Kiel would commit to ND in the end.

      • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        It’s all fine and dandy but let’s hope that BK doesn’t turn him into a Dayne Crist. I hope they find a “true” Quarterback’s coach or offensive coordinator, keeping in mind that he is a “pro style” QB NOT a spread.

      • bernhtp - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        Dick, he is way more spread-capable than the guy getting snaps for the past year and a half.

    • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      I don’t remember that (Gunner to ND all along), but thanks for the article

      • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        LOL, seriously, I’d go back through and copy and paste the comments but I can’t fathom reading through my past comments. I have turned a new leaf, I am a changed man. I decided “NOT” to be a racist anymore.

        I don’t think this helped at all either. There are some minor “unrest” going on at LSU after their loss to Alabama but I don’t feel sorry for them at all. They’re in a hotbed of recruiting zone.

  22. uawlocal1136 - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM


    Me and the boys down here at the Union Hall are politely asking you to dial it back…alot. Your constant “f” bombs leveled toward everyone from TR (especially) to some 18 year old kid out of (you fill in the state) is without question the most infantile, immature boorish, REPETITIVE posting(s) from anyone on this site. If Obama wins reelection, you will blame it on Tommy Rees. If your gout acts up, you blame it on Tommy Rees. Next one will be your erectile dysfunction…not that the thought of one jerry sandusky doesn’t stir your loins…sure it does :)

    Did you ever compete in anything in your life, (notwithstanding the above JS reference) other than intramural tonsil hockey with your best friend’s grandma? Did you ever, ever strap on a jock strap or a cup? You criticize all comers, including 18 year old kids, simply trying to make one of the most important decisions of their life. But according to YOU, Pubey, “Fu*k em if they don’t put an Irish hat on their dome.

    You are indeed a gutless punk hiding behind your brave keyboard shrouded in anonymity…just the way you have always liked it…and likely always will.

    Buy Union, Buy American. Re-elect president Obama!!!

    • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      here here!!!

      couldn’t have said it better myself…

    • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      UAW, I don’t like nudeman’s comments either sometimes but this is semi-open forum. You say buy american and union but what happened to free speech?

      • dickasman - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        UAW, if nudeman weren’t here, the comments would be the same one after another. I personally prefer hearing difference of opinions whether I like them or not.

      • nudeman - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

        goat and uaw are the same person with 2 log ins.
        Decide for yourself how to spend your time but know that you’re responding to one person

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM

        close – but nice try

        story of your pathetic career wrapped up in that one futile effort

    • 1historian - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      Mr. Decker; I realize you have been under a lot of pressure, far more than a large, athletically gifted youngster should have to endure.

      Before you sign on the dotted line two weeks from now, perhaps you should consider this: Remember Greg Oden? He played Basketball for OSU for one season before going first overall in the 2007 NBA draft. He has been incredibly unlucky with injuries almost since day one of his NBA career, and he has about one more chance left.

      In his only year at OSU in his 2nd semester he had two subjects – Sociology & the History of Rock & Roll.

      Source: – Sports Illustrated

    • 1historian - Jan 17, 2012 at 8:59 PM

      1) Buy union – as a retired union laborer I do if I can find it.
      2) I buy the best I can get for the best price.
      3) Re-elect President Obama – Not in this lifetime.

      I am a retired union laborer of 36 years, before that I served my country in the U.S. Navy for 3 1/2 years, and I went to Notre Dame 2 times, flunking out both times. I am happy in retirement up here in Maine, and if I wanna go peee outside I do.

    • 1historian - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM

      1) Buy union – I do when I can – when I can find it.
      2) Buy American – ditto
      3) Re-elect Obama – not on your life

      I am a retired union laborer of 36 years, before that I was in the Navy for 3+ years, before that I went to ND.

      • 1historian - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM


  23. joewyoming - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I live in Bloomington, IN, and this place was crushed when he decommitted from Indiana. He’s hot stuff.

  24. leftcoastirishfan - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    If you don’t like the way the Irish recuiting year is going. “JUST WAIT FIVE MINUTES”

  25. trentnd - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:14 PM just released that Tee Shepard, Sheldon Day, Amir Carlisle and… Gunner Kiel have been added to the roster:

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