SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Looking into the crystal ball has always been difficult when Gunner Kiel is involved. His name clouds the water, making it impossible to see the future. This was true when he was committed to Indiana and then LSU. Of course, he eventually landed in South Bend at the 11th hour and 59th minute when he enrolled early at Notre Dame just before classes started.
Now, it is even more difficult to determine whether or not Kiel will stay at Notre Dame for the duration of his college career. He faces an uphill battle at Quarterback with Everett Golson presumably holding the position down for next three years. Kiel also will feel the heat from a talented young early enrollee named Malik Zaire. Kiel’s prospects at playing time do not look good.
This might be hard to swallow for the former #1 Quarterback in the nation. Coming out of High School, Kiel was widely considered to be the best Quarterback prospect in the nation and one of the top prospects overall. Gunner Kiel was the type of player who was supposed to start all 4 years at a school like Matt Barkley or Jimmy Clausen.
However, Gunner Kiel only saw the field at Notre Dame Stadium once in his first year as a college football player. This was on April 21, 2012 during the Blue-Gold Game, Notre Dame’s annual spring football game. Kiel showed maybe the best arm on the team during his mop up duty in the second half. But he also showed that he has a long way to go before he could be a college Quarterback.
The few things that were said about Kiel during the Spring, Summer and Fall were both positive and negative. On the positive side, Kiel performed well on the scout team and has a great arm. On the negative side, Kiel is “underwater” as far as the speed the game. In other words, Kiel played against competition that did not prepare him for college in High School. It was going to take him some time to catch up.
Media access was limited to Kiel until the BCS National Title Game when he dropped a “bombshell” on the reporters in attendance. He said that he had not thought of transferring but “anything could happen.” However, this quote was taken out of context. The actual full quote was:
“Anything could happen. [Golson] could go to the NFL — you never know. He could also get hurt, other people could get hurt — there’s so many doors that could be opened that I just have to be patient, just wait my turn, wait to get better.”
According to our current poll, 62% of readers believe that Kiel will play at Notre Dame. This off-season is critical for him. He has an opportunity to get to become the backup to Everett Golson. This would mean that Kiel would hold the next man in moniker at the Quarterback position. Based on Golson’s questionable durability, Kiel could see playing time. Right now, he seems content to wait for his opportunity.