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National Signing Day: Why Gunner Kiel Will Lead Notre Dame to BCS Glory

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 10:   The Coaches' Trophy, awarded to head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide after defeating Louisiana State University Tigers in the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game during a press conference on January 10, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Adam SpencerCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2012

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish lucked into a terrific quarterback when Gunner Kiel decommitted from LSU and decided to instead play for the Irish. Kiel is No. 52 in the ESPNU top 150 rankings and is the No. 3 quarterback prospect.

Kiel is from Columbus, Indiana, so his decision to stay home and attend Notre Dame has made Brian Kelly and the coaching staff very happy.

During his high school career, Kiel did it all. He threw the ball, ran the ball and did whatever was necessary to lead his team. That versatility will definitely help him at Notre Dame. He won’t be running as much, but his comfort outside the pocket will be a huge plus in the long run.

In fact, Kiel is going to lead the Irish back to a BCS bowl game during his time in South Bend. Yeah, he’s that good.

The defense is usually pretty solid, and Notre Dame is bringing in another solid recruit, defensive tackle Sheldon Day, who is No. 143 in the ESPNU top 150.

So, it’s going to come down to Kiel and the offense to get Notre Dame back to a BCS bowl, most likely starting in 2013.

Tommy Rees will most likely retain the starting job in 2012, and Kiel will most likely redshirt and spend the year learning the offense. But starting in 2013, it’ll probably be Kiel’s team to run, and he is going to have plenty of weapons.

Even though top wide receiver Michael Floyd is graduating, Notre Dame is replacing him with two wide receivers in the ESPNU top 150 in their 2012 class. Justin Ferguson (No. 85) and Deontay Greenberry (No. 106) will join Kiel in South Bend next season and should provide plenty of firepower in the coming years.

So, with Kiel’s excellent pocket presence, rocket arm and talented receiving corps, he should eventually start drawing comparisons to former Notre Dame star QB Brady Quinn. And, much like with Quinn, the Irish could be heading back to the Sugar Bowl as early as 2013.

The Irish have found their quarterback, and now the future looks very bright.

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