Gunner Kiel: Will a Top Team Take the Risk?
Gunner Kiel was heavily recruited as a high school senior. Kiel first gave a verbal commitment to Indiana, where his older brother was then on the roster, before flipping to LSU. Kiel then jettisoned LSU in favor of Notre Dame late in his recruiting process, leading LSU coach Les Miles to question Kiel’s “confidence and swagger.”
“We needed a quarterback in this class,” Miles said in February 2012 at LSU’s annual recruiting celebration. “There was a young man from Indiana that thought about coming to the Bayou State, [but] he did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program. So you know.”
He wasn’t offended by Miles’ comments, Kiel said in January.
“Once he said it, I don’t blame him at all. I was dumb during the recruiting process,” Kiel said during the BCS championship game’s media day. “I couldn’t really make up my mind, but I was also doing what was best for me at that time, and that was picking a college. That much pressure and being so highly ranked, I couldn’t make up my mind.”
Now Kiel has left Notre Dame. After sitting on the bench during Notre Dame’s National Championship run behind Everett Golson, he has decided not to stay and compete for the starting job, but to look for yet another school.
He will most likely have options. Considered the best “pro style” college quarterback in 2012, several teams will undoubtedly take a close look at what he could do for their program.
The question that was raised by Les Miles is valid. Does he have the heart and soul, the determination to lead an upper echelon team to win a division or capture a BCS Bowl bid?
While Kelly wasn’t stunned by Kiel’s decision to transfer, he did make it clear that Kiel was told he’d have the chance to compete for playing time in 2013.
“I don’t know that I’m surprised,” Kelly said. “We had kind of created an opportunity for him to compete in the spring. So maybe a little surprised fromthat standpoint, because he was actually told he’d be given the opportunity to compete. Sometimes when you don’t hear that, you wouldn’t be surprised.”
Said Kelly, “While we are sad when kids don’t go through the entire program, we want what’s best for them. We are educators as well as coaches.”
Depending on which school he plays for next, he may have to sit out yet another season, red-shirting until 2014.
Depending on his decision making process, it’s a possibility no one will ever get to see if he has enough actual talent to play football in college or the pros.
Columnist-The Guardian Express