Gunner Kiel has sat and watched the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drive to an undefeated season and BCS title shot with redshirt freshman Everett Golson guiding the offense.
As the season draws to a close, it appears that the career of Kiel at Notre Dame is ending with it—well before it has the chance to get off the ground. Golson is winning ballgames, and with each passing week, he solidifies his position as the starter for the Irish.
Kiel has four years of eligibility that remain, but Golson has made his case to become the incumbent starter for the remaining three years and one game of his eligibility.
Kiel would be behind him, but what if Golson never falters or falls to injury?
Quarterback competitions are nothing new to the Irish, and Brian Kelly has been an advocate of using two signal-callers if need be, but as Golson continues to progress into the offense, Kiel will see less sideline time.
There will be a competition to take the spot over in the spring, but unless Kiel can come up with an amazing spring performance, he will be relegated to the backup position.
In 2013, he would be battling new all-star signee Malik Zaire for the second-string role.
If Kiel walks past the coaches' recruiting big board, he will notice the name Malik Zaire sitting in the quarterback slot. Zaire is ranked as the No. 110 player in the country according to the 247Sports composite ranking.
He committed to Notre Dame on March 25 of this year.
No good quarterback is going to run from competition, but a smart one will see the writing on the wall.
Zaire has similar skills to Golson and would be able to step in seamlessly for the Irish in the future. After tweaking an offense for four seasons to the strengths of Golson, Zaire—not Kiel—would be the obvious player to step into the starting job.
Will Gunner Kiel ever start for the Irish?
A lot can happen in the next three seasons, but as it stands today, Gunner Kiel doesn’t have a bright future with the Irish. He is only one year removed from being the No. 1 rated quarterback in the country, so there are other options out there for Kiel.
Will he transfer?
Who knows, but at this point it wouldn’t be dumb to look at options.
The decision is Kiel’s and Kiel’s alone to make. There are programs all through the country that would give their equipment trailer to bring him to campus.
It wouldn’t be tough to find a new home.
Battling it out for the starting job at Notre Dame would be the admirable thing to do, but being admirable doesn’t always pay the bills. Kiel could have a future as a game-changing quarterback in college football, but it doesn’t look to be coming in South Bend.