LSU Football: Losing Gunner Kiel Really Hurts Tigers' 2012 Recruiting Class

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2012

Les Miles thought he had his quarterback of the future.

Finally, the dreadful days of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee would soon be forgotten once four-star quarterback prospect Gunner Kiel arrived in Baton Rouge. But in a sudden change of events, Kiel enrolled at Notre Dame on Tuesday, leaving the LSU football program in the dust.

So, what does this mean for LSU's quarterback prospects heading into the 2012 college football season?

Well for starters, it means that the Tigers will enter the season without any quarterback on their roster who will have any major experience. Of course, that would have been the case with Kiel on board, but Kiel was a promising option regardless of the fact he would be fresh out of high school. The prep quarterback from Columbus, IN was the No. 2-ranked QB prospect in the nation and the No. 20 overall prospect in the 2012 recruiting class, according to ESPNU Top 150.

Kiel was expected to battle redshirt sophomore Zach Mettenberger for the starting quarterback job at LSU, but unless LSU can sign another quarterback prospect this season, and there aren't many highly touted options still available, Mettenberger should be the clear-cut starter heading into the season.

But Kiel is not the first one to axe LSU on the recruiting scene.

Earlier this month, five-star defensive back prospect Landon Collins from Geismar, LA, chose Alabama over LSU, despite popular belief that he would wear the LSU purple-and-gold next season.

As it stands right now, LSU does not have one single player in the ESPNU Top 100 prospects for 2012. The Tigers have 10 four-star players signed on to join the program in 2012, but not one five-star prospect.

The Tigers have had three straight recruiting classes that have ranked in the Top 10 classes in the nation, and eight of the past nine classes have been in the Top 12 in the nation. Unless a lot changes over the next two weeks, that streak will likely come to an end this season.

Now that Kiel is signed on with Notre Dame and Collins has committed to Alabama, the top prospect on LSU's list is five-star defensive back Tracy Howard out of Miramar, FL. If he signs on with LSU, the Tigers could salvage a respectable recruiting class, but otherwise, this looks like it could be a down year for Les Miles and the Tigers.