May 6, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT
While only two quarterbacks remain on Brian Kelly’s scholarship depth chart, two departed signal-callers are on their way to taking over starting jobs at other programs. Last weekend, former Irish quarterback Andrew Hendrix capped off a strong spring with a nice performance for Chuck Martin’s Miami RedHawks.
Hendrix, who earned his degree from Notre Dame and will play out his eligibility in Oxford, completed 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. The Cincinnati native returns to his home state and continues with his former Irish offensive coordinator, who was his typical self when asked if Hendrix was set to be named the starting quarterback.
“There’s no naming,” Martin said. “You spend five minutes out there and he’s clearly our No. 1 quarterback. Everyone knows it. For the public, you can name him if you want. But everybody on the team knows who the No. 1 quarterback is.”
Winning the starting job might not be the most enviable spot on the baron Miami roster. After finishing last season winless and hardly competitive, Martin is rebuilding the program from the foundation. And he’ll have three former Irish players to help him in this first season, with Lo Wood and Alex Welch joining Hendrix in Oxford.
After the spring scrimmage, Hendrix talked about the experience playing under Martin and how that should help expedite the rebuilding process.
“After two years of playing in this offense, I think I know the ins and outs,” Hendrix said. “And that’s helped me bring the other guys along. And when you have other veterans out here like myself, Lo Wood, even Alex Welch, it really helps to break down the learning curve and get us where we want to be.”
Meanwhile, 45 minutes away another former Irish quarterback is ready for his star turn. Last month, Gunner Kiel supplied hope for the future of Cincinnati football when he completed 17 of 22 throws for 300 yards in the Bearcats spring game. Running Tommy Tuberville’s No. 1 offense in the first half, Kiel looked sharp as he stretched the field with some vertical throws.
After the offense received a public scolding from Tuberville, Kiel’s performance seemed to lock in his role as the team’s starter, though injured quarterback Munchie Legaux could be back and healthy before the start of the season.
After the game, Kiel had the sound of a guy that was ready to step into the role of starting quarterback.
“I want to play perfect every game,” Kiel said. “I came out here with a chip on my shoulder to get better and compete have fun and play fast because that’s what we are good at. So it was fun. I definitely enjoyed my time and I’m ready for the season to begin.”
If Irish fans are looking for a fun Saturday on the Irish’s off weekend in late September, tune in to Miami vs. Cincinnati, where Hendrix and Kiel will face-off at Paul Brown Stadium.
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