Gunner Kiel to transfer from Notre Dame

Gunner Kiel Transfer
South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Gunner Kiel (1) stretches during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple reports have indicated tonight that Notre Dame freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel intends to transfer from Notre Dame.  Irish Sports Daily broke the story earlier tonight and the report has since been confirmed by multiple news outlets.

Gunner Kiel enrolled at Notre Dame last January at the last minute after previously being committed to LSU and set to enroll early in Baton Rouge.  Kiel had a last minute change of heart, however, and enrolled at Notre Dame where he spent the spring and fall as Notre Dame’s 4th string quarterback.

Kiel was set to challenge for the backup quarterback role behind Everett Golson this spring along with Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, and 2013 early enrollee Malik Zaire.  He spent the 2012 season as Notre Dame’s scout team and deflected questions at the BCS Championship media day in January about transferring.

With Kiel set to transfer now though, the Irish will head into spring practice with four quarterbacks.

Given Golson’s emergence in 2012 and the three years of eligibility that he has remaining, it should not be surprising that a quarterback would end up transferring from Notre Dame, but it is surprising that Kiel has made the decision now instead of waiting to see how the depth chart shook out after spring practice since he will have to sit out the 2013 season wherever he ends up anyway.

Kiel’s apparent imminent transfer could also change Notre Dame’s recruiting plans since Tommy Rees is out of eligibility after this season which would leave Notre Dame with Golson and Zaire with the possibility of a 5th year for Andrew Hendrix in 2014.

Kiel’s decision to transfer could also impact what Notre Dame does with Zaire this season.  In a perfect world, the Irish coaching staff would have probably preferred that he redshirt this season as Golson did in 2011, but given the potential lack of depth in 2014, they will need to make sure that Zaire gains enough reps this year to be ready to serve at least a backup role in 2014.

Tonight’s news brings an abrupt end to a rather peculiar and brief career for Kiel at Notre Dame.  Early on in the recruiting process Kiel seemed like a lock for Notre Dame – the alma mater of his uncle, former Notre Dame quarterback Blair Kiel – before he committed to Indiana.  After decommitting from Indiana, it again appeared as though Kiel would end up at Notre Dame before he committed to LSU.  After finally ending up enrolled at Notre Dame, his Irish career turned out to last just over 13 months.



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  1. With EG around for at least two more years, and Tommy as probable first
    reliever in case of injury next year, and with Malik obviously the RKG and better fit
    in Kelly’s “O”, this probably makes sense for Gunner.

    Stick around Andrew. Your future opportunity at ND next year has just greatly improved.

    Kiel obviously wants to be THE QB somewhere, and he needs to do
    what he sees as best for his future. Waiting for season-ending injuries to other QBs
    on the roster is less appealing to him than transferring- even when it means sitting out
    somewhere else next season as well. Some MAC QBs also end up playing on Sundays, too.

    Wishing you the best, Gunner, wherever you land.

  2. Kudos JTRAIN,

    We haven’t had this kind of luxury at QB in a long time. Like I said, I would have loved to keep Gunner. However, the good news, without question, Golson and Zaire are now the future of ND football! I definitely like our chances, and you can rest assurded BK will bring in another high quality QB to compete for starting time. It’s certainly amazing what 12 wins will do for a program!

    Here come our beloved Irish!

  3. Wish the kid luck wherever he ends up. Seemed like a good kid. Makes me wonder though. What spooked him? Was it Golson having the starting spot locked down? My only issue with that is he would be a play away from getting on the field. He had to have known that. Kelly answered a question about Kiels status “if you don’t think I’m going to bring in Malik Zaire to beat you out, then you need to transfer” This is interesting because it makes me think the transfer has more to do Zaire than Golson. Maybe Zaire has shown something to make Kiel believe that once the Golson era is over the Zaire era will begin and he doesn’t think he will be able to beat him out. Oh well, like I said last off season we better get used to transfers because as the depth chart gets deeper the more it will happen.

  4. Really Michigan. He wants to transfer not create a nation of enemies. Michigan is no option watch Charlie and Kansas make a play for Gunner. Pro style offense and no pressure to win.

  5. Gunner was NEVER going to play at ND Or at least the position was not going to be gift wrapped with a bow for him. I think he owed it to himself to at least compete for the job during spring football but he choose not to, strange. Good luck Gunner I think you are selling yourself short. In the end this does not hurt the Irish at all it just makes expedites Maliks learning curve and put QB on next years recruiting radar.

  6. What about michigan? They have 1 year left with Gardner.Hoke wants to run a pro-style system and Kiel could jump right in….this would suck, but he would get a lot of exposure plus meatchicken is on the rise.

    1. Don’t think Kelly would let that happen. Would have to block that transfer. But you are right he needs to find a pro system. He could Juco for a year and go to Michigan, but gunner looks like he wants to play now at D1 level. To the MAC he goes

  7. If Golson get injured, we don’t have a QB who can lead this team to the BCS again. Rees is nice in short spurts, but really a MAC QB. Hendrix hasn’t proved he can throw the ball and run the full offense. He is, dare i say, a Tebow like QB. Tough running but lacking touch and accuracy in the passing game. Zaire has proven nothing yet. He looks athletic, but the questions about his passing accuracy still linger. Look at his stats as a junior in high school. I know he was a junior and rebounded with a nice senior year, showing great improvement, but his passing numbers were not that good. In college he won’t always be the most athletic on the field. Did hear he played well at Trent Dilfer’s elite 11, which is nice. Having Gunner would have been great. He is an elite QB who was compared to Peyton Manning. Doubt he lives up to it, but you know he has the tools. To bad he didn’t think he could beat out Golson, thats the only reason to transfer. Hope this doesn’t come back to sting us this year.

  8. If true, I wish Gunner the very best and Godspeed. He clearly came here to be the starter and it appears that after observation and conversatiothat Golson
    has padlocked the starting job.

    tragedy? Surely the writer jests. It is merely football. And, it was well within the zone of foreseeabiltiy.

    Hi, Malik! You’re up!

    Go Irish.

    And yeah, I’ll root for Gunner at his next stop.

  9. Not clear how big this is – I was ecpecting Hnedricks to move – It does seem to make mores sense to wait until after the Spring – He would probably end up #2 but he would be #2 for three years unless Golson goes down – His background shows he is a little bit of a flake. Kelly can’t play to him and promise that he will play. We will jsut have to see and hope EG develops and doesn’t get hurt

  10. “This kid lacks the “chest” to lead our program.” “He lacks the the “confidence and swagger” necessary to succeed.” I’m sure our coach won’t be saying these things about Gunner. I just don’t understand why he would leave before spring practice. I was expecting him to be #2 this year. That’s one play from being the starting quarterback at Notre Dame. If he’s listed at fourth on the depth chart at the end of spring, I can understand a transfer. Anyway, good luck to him.

  11. what a tragedy, kelly should have kept him here, at all costs, example it was coley obrien that won us a national championship, not terry hanratty, when hanratty got injured, it golson breaks his leg we are screwed, he never played him, never gave him a chance, i just dont get kelly, still burned by the disastrous bcs game, the eagles and now the future joe montana leaves. my god

    1. BJ,

      The sky is not falling and the program will be fine. I would have liked to kept Gunner, but it’s not like ND doesn’t have four scholarship QB’s on it’s roster. I don’t think Gunner is the difference between an NC type team and a top 25 team.

  12. What did you expect? Why would the kid stay? He has literally no real shiot at starting at ND, regardless of who is uncle is or was! Unless Golson falls flat on his face or gets injuried, the chances of Gunner starting or even playing is slim to none and slim just left town. Good luck kid, you made the right choice. Go Irish!

  13. It says a lot about the status of ND to lose a guy as highly recruited as Kiel and not worry about it. If my destination is the NFL, you’re not going to get much exposure as the backup at ND for at least 3 years. No way he ends up at LSU, not after the way the Mad Fatter called him out twice. I agree he’ll end up in the big ten somewhere. Best of luck to him.

  14. Would not be surprised to see him windup in Big 10 at either Wisconsin or Michigan State. They seem more likely to get some bowl exposure then either Indiana or Purdue even though they are in-state and closer to his parents home. So much for No. 1 QB in the nation. If guy gives up without even having a go in Spring game to see what his real form is then he doesn’t seem the kind of guy you expect to lead the Irish to a national champ. Adios “PopGun” alias Gunner.

  15. Guess he didn’t feel that he wanted to “compete” anymore and “prove” what he could do in order to beat out Golson. Oh well, best of luck to him. I guess if he wants to ensure he gets on the field in 2 years, then transferring is the best option. Doesn’t really change much in my eyes. If Golson continues to grow and improve, then Gunner was only going to play 1 year at best anyway.

    1. I doubt he is afraid to compete, it was just stupid to come to ND when he does not meet the profile of what BK wants which is Golson / Zaire style. He should go to Stanford. I wish him the best he gave us a little burst of recruiting style points when we needed it.

  16. Bleacher Report came out with an article a few days ago talking about a possibility of Kiel transferring plus they came out with a list (Like they do for everything) of teams he would transfer to. I think LSU would be the likely destination.

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