Recently here at WagerWeb.com, I wrote about how arguably the top prep quarterback recruit in the nation, Gunner Kiel, had verbally committed to LSU and was going to enroll in school this week. It thus wouldn’t have been shocking to see Kiel be the Tigers’ starting quarterback to open the fall as LSU tried to get back to the national championship game.
But the problem with verbal commitments is that they aren’t binding, and LSU learned that the hard way on Tuesday when Kiel officially committed to Notre Dame. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Kiel seems to be a perfect fit for Irish coach, Brian Kelly. In his senior season at Columbus (Indiana) East High School, Kiel threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns. Kiel also has game on the ground. He was the second leading rusher for Columbus East this past season. Kiel had 482 yards, 11 touchdowns on 109 carries.
Kiel is expected to enroll in South Bend by the end of the week — possible as soon as today, the first day of classes for the spring semester — putting him on pace to join a crowded depth chart in spring practice.
Kiel clearly is a bit wishy-washy. In August, Kiel initially pledged his loyalty to Indiana, where his brother, Dusty, was a backup quarterback who wound up starting the Hoosiers’ first two Big Ten games before being relegated to the bench for the second half of the season. Gunner Kiel subsequently backed out of his commitment to IU in October, just after big bro had been yanked from the lineup for good (as of last weekend, Dusty Kiel is no longer a Hoosier, either), and eventually settled on LSU instead on Dec. 27. Early in 2011, Kiel had said Alabama and Oklahoma were his finalists.
Had Kiel signed and enrolled at LSU, he would have been the highest ranked quarterback to come to LSU since Ryan Perrilloux signed with the Tigers in February of 2005 as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country out of East St. John High near New Orleans. Kiel was hailed as one of the most significant recruits in LSU history, partly because he was from so far away.
With the graduation of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, former Georgia transfer Zach Mettenberger now seems the likely starter for the Tigers. Notre Dame’s depth chart is much more crowded, led by presumed starter Tommy Rees.