The Fighting Irish took a roster hit that may be a blessing on March 8 when it became public that highly regarded quarterback Gunner Kiel would be transferring from Notre Dame (L.A. Times).
The news is not surprising, considering how stacked the position was with talent, and the toughest decision has yet to happen for Kiel. Now he must decide where to transfer.
There are a number of schools that run offenses that would thrive with Kiel at the helm, and there will be a number of teams in the race for his talents.
Kiel may choose to sit a year and transfer inside the FBS, or go the FCS or JUCO route for immediate playing time. This is a look at the top options for one of the nation’s best untapped talents.
Texas Tech is not short on talent at the quarterback position with rising sophomore Michael Brewer looking to take over the offense in 2013. He would have two years of eligibility remaining, and Kiel would have to battle his remaining two years for a starting job.
Still, this would place Kiel in a major conference and under the guidance of rising coaching star and quarterback developer Kliff Kingsbury.
This is the biggest stretch of all five scenarios, but it would be one that wouldn’t surprise if it happened. There is a lot to say about a rising program, and Texas Tech is one that could use a star quarterback to build the future around.
Heading into the 2013 season, the Sooners are set to change the look of their offense.
Blake Bell is a rising junior and is expected to start. Over the past few seasons, he has been a Wildcat specialist, so he has rarely thrown downfield. His tendency to run could change the look of the offense.
Bell would have one year of eligibility remaining in 2014 and may exit early after a strong season.
If Kiel decided to transfer, he could compete with Bell for the starting job in 2014, then have a year of eligibility remaining once Bell exits.
This offensive system would fit Kiel well. If given the opportunity, he could take the starting position early in Norman.
When a quarterback steps away from an FBS-level program, there are not many options.
If a team is inside a major conference, most of the other conference programs are off limits. And if the player decides to transfer inside the FBS, he must sit a season unless there are outstanding circumstances.
The JUCO and FCS ranks are the other options for transfers.
Teams like Hutchinson Community College, Coffeyville Community College and Copiah-Lincoln Community College pump out consistent JUCO talents who turn into stars once they make it into the FBS. It would also give Kiel stats and immediate exposure.
The FCS route is a much less traveled but equally beneficial route.
Kiel could walk onto an FCS roster and instantly become the starter.
Programs like Appalachian State, Old Dominion and North Dakota State offer top exposure for players like Kiel who are looking for immediate playing time.
With scouting becoming the all encompassing process that it is today, players rarely get lost in the system. A player like Kiel will never fall off the radar by landing with a JUCO program or in the FCS.
When the 2012 recruiting cycle was heating up, Gunner Kiel committed to Indiana.
After thinking over the decision, he decommitted, and then took his services to Notre Dame over LSU.
Heading into the 2013 season, the Hoosiers have two sophomores and a junior leading the quarterback battle. Cameron Coffman, a junior, is leading the race as the incumbent starter.
He would have one year of eligibility remaining when Kiel became eligible in 2014. This could be a great stage for Kiel to try to master the position and prove that he doesn’t run from competition.
This is a hometown school that is only a short one-hour drive from home for Kiel.
The Purdue Boilermakers are heading into the 2013 season with a rising senior Rob Henry at quarterback.
Last year’s starters Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush are gone, and that will leave the job vacant for the 2014 season.
With Darrell Hazell and a new coaching staff in place, there would be no better time to step into a Big Ten program than right now at Purdue for Kiel.
Kiel is from Indiana, and Purdue is only a two-hour drive from his hometown of Columbus.
Entering this season, Kiel would sit due to transfer rules, but he could pick up as a junior in 2014 and start two years.
Talk about a homecoming match made for the press wires.