Gunner Kiel’s career at Notre Dame may end before it ever really started.
Irish Sports Daily has learned that the Notre Dame freshman intends to transfer. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Columbus, Ind., enrolled in classes at South Bend a year ago after graduating early from Columbus East High School.
Kiel spent the 2012 season as the Irish’s scout team quarterback, impressing many with his arm strength and accuracy. The nephew of former Irish quarterback Blair Kiel was subsequently redshirted and still has four years of eligibility remaining.
He was expected to challenge starter Everett Golson for playing time this spring, but it was certainly going to be tough to wrestle the position away from a signal-caller who led Notre Dame to a 12-0 regular-season record and a trip to January’s BCS National Championship Game.
Kiel was ranked as the nation’s top prep school quarterback in the Class of 2012. Prior to enrolling early at Notre Dame, Kiel committed to Indiana before decommitting and offering a pledge to LSU. Just days before he was scheduled to enroll in classes at Baton Rouge, he decided to head north to South Bend instead.
His motives for transferring or his future plans aren’t immediately clear. One source claims Notre Dame would leave the door open for Kiel possibly changing his mind and sticking it out in South Bend. The Irish would love to have him back, but they understand things don’t always work out.
Kiel's absence would leave former starter Tommy Rees along with classmate Andrew Hendrix and freshman Malik Zaire, who enrolled in January, to push Golson.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame communications office weren’t immediately available for comment.