Apr. 21, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Gunner Kiel (5) in the fourth quarter of the spring game at Notre Dame Stadium. Kiel wore the number five jersey in honor of his uncle and former quarterback Blair Kiel who died on April 8, 2012. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Football's Spring Questions: Kiel To 2nd String?

Gunner Kiel was a 5-star Quarterback according to several recruiting services. He sat on the bench and ran the scout team his first year on campus. This season is the most critical in his Notre Dame career even if he does not play.

Everett Golson seems solidified as the starter. He could play until 2015, which would be Kiel’s redshirt Junior year. If playing only one year of playing time is available for Kiel, he might leave for another team. But, if he is backing up Golson, a player who could get hurt on a scramble at any moment, he will probably stay. So, does he get in that position this spring?

Notre Dame also returns Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix who will not be on the team in 2014. Rees did well backing up Golson last year. He is the favorite to back up Golson again. Hendrix is finishing up a great academic career and a disappointing athletic career. He will be running 4th or even 5th.

The Irish also welcome Malik Zaire, a left-handed Quarterback from Kettering, Ohio. The Irish coaching staff really likes what he brings to the table. He should be able to climb his way up the ladder quickly. Underestimating Zaire is foolish. He could be the 3rd string player by the end of the year.

Can Kiel prove that he brings more to the table than Rees? It is clear he has better size and possesses a better arm. If he has picked up the game enough then he will be the “next man in”. But, Rees, a coaches son, is familiar with the game like it is the back of his hand. He just is limited physically.

This may be the most intriguing storyline that does not have anything to do with how the Irish play on the field.

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