Listed Measurements: 6-foot-1 ⅝, 212 pounds.
2019-20 year, eligibility: An early-enrolled freshman, Kiser has all four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.
Depth chart: Kiser may have had a chance to make an impact somewhere along the linebacker two-deep this spring if offseason shoulder surgery (torn labrum) had not kept him on the sidelines. As a result, Kiser is no better than third anywhere on the depth chart.
Recruiting: The consensus three-star prospect debated between Notre Dame and Purdue, hardly considering any options but those from within the state that named him Mr. Indiana Football.
The Irish tried to train Kiser through the shoulder injury, but it became apparent before too long surgery would be necessary, and they made that choice early enough to theoretically have him healthy in the preseason. But before opting for surgery, Kiser impressed.
“There’s every reason to believe Jack Kiser can be a factor and push [Rovers Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Paul Moala],” defensive coordinator Clark Lea said in April. “He’s got to get healthy and once he does, he was, in his time here healthy, he was really impressive with respect to his movement, skill, his work ethic. He was studying overtime and really learning two positions, honestly. In the classroom he was looking at Rover and Buck. He was trying to maximize his time here, because that’s why you early enroll.
“For me, there’s no reason, even through the season, Jack Kiser — being that he missed spring — might work through the summer and be in a position to contend for playing time in the fall. But let’s say by the time we’re lining up against Louisville, he’s not quite ready. That light may go off 2, 3, 4 weeks into the season, and we don’t need to close our eyes to that. We need to be getting him chances.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN KISER’S NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
“The comparisons to Drue Tranquill will be unfair to Kiser — that is a high bar to reach — but they are also too obvious to miss. An in-state, under-recruited linebacker that chooses the Irish over the Boilermakers? Kiser’s eventual showing will depend as much on physical development as Tranquill’s did on finding the right position.
“Perhaps Kiser gets some special teams work in four games in 2019, but that should be it considering the other linebackers in this class and the strong haul a year ago.”
Lea certainly sounded like Kiser should play this year, and that was not the only time Lea’s passion for Kiser’s potential showed. Just in recruiting a player from such a low-level part of Indiana high school football, Lea made it clear he thinks very highly of Kiser.
There is little reason to doubt Lea’s assessment, but only time will be an accurate judge. And despite Lea’s encouraging springtime words, time may not start ticking on Kiser this year. Shoulder injuries are tricky, and forcing him into playing will not be necessary.
More because of that dynamic than anything else, expect Kiser to see limited time, at most.
DOWN THE ROAD
More than wondering if Kiser will play in 2019 or not, the biggest question attached to his projections is where he plays most of his career, at Rover or at Buck. Despite all his high school success, including two state titles and the types of quarterback stats that are hard to fathom, Kiser is not the most athletic or rangiest linebacker on the Irish roster, or arguably even in this class with Marist Liufau knocking around.
That makes a long-term future at Rover a bit less likely, and one at Buck a distinct possibility. Playing there will be just as hard with sophomore Jack Lamb having four years of eligibility remaining.
These are the reasons this space included a hesitant paragraph when Kiser signed his National Letter of Intent: “Kiser will have to earn any significant playing time, simply because Notre Dame has excelled in linebacker recruiting across the last two cycles. That is not to say he will not be able to do so. It is just acknowledging who his stiffest competition will be.”
Looking past Kiser’s middling recruiting rankings, his low-profile prep competition and his shoulder injury, the Irish depth chart will do him no favors unless he develops physically in the ways Lea seems to expect.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Isaiah Foskey, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, senior defensive end
No. 42: Julian Okwara, senior defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, junior defensive tackle
No. 40: Drew White, junior inside linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, junior kicker
No. 35: TaRiq Bracy, sophomore cornerback
No. 35: Marist Liufau, Hawaiian freshman linebacker
No. 34: Jahmir Smith, sophomore running back
No. 34: Osita Ekwonu, inside linebacker, consensus four-star
No. 33: Shayne Simon, sophomore linebacker
No. 31: Jack Lamb, sophomore linebacker
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, junior linebacker
No. 29: Ovie Oghoufo, sophomore linebacker-turned-defensive end
No. 27: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 25: Braden Lenzy, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 24: Tommy Tremble, sophomore tight end