Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish Should Start Gunner Kiel in Season Opener
Give Gunner Kiel a shot.
Does Kiel have a shot to win the starting job?
Notre Dame starting quarterback Tommy Rees was suspended for the first game of the 2012 college football season after getting arrested in May. If Brian Kelly was smart, he’d start Kiel against Navy without hesitation.
Rivals rated Kiel the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2012 recruiting class. His ceiling is through the roof. He has the potential to not only eventually go first overall in the NFL draft, but to lead the Fighting Irish back to prominence.
And that includes national championship contention.
Now, I’m not saying if you start Kiel this season, Notre Dame is going all the way. It isn’t a legitimate title contender—it went just 8-5 last season, which wasn’t an improvement over its previous campaign. But that’s even more of a reason to throw Kiel in against the Midshipmen.
If Kiel sinks, no big deal. Kelly can just throw the mediocre, yet experienced Rees back under center to stick it out for another season.
If Kiel swims, though, and shows the flashes of brilliance that he’s capable of, the Fighting Irish just found their savior.
Kelly would have the option to hand Kiel the reins this year. As long as he isn’t rushed in to action, the more experience he has, the faster he’ll progress.
And who knows? If Kiel takes the inevitable punches all freshmen quarterbacks must brace for and walks away looking like a starting-caliber quarterback, Notre Dame could be fighting for a national title as soon as next season.
Dare I say Rees’ suspension was a good thing?
Instead of blindly sticking Rees under center without providing Kiel with a fair shot at a starting job, Kelly now has a no-risk, high-reward option at his disposal: start Kiel one game without a any kind of commitment to play again this season and see what happens.
An off-campus party may have just ushered in a new and promising era of Fighting Irish football.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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