Notre Dame Football: Can the Irish Sell Gunner Kiel on a Chance to Start in 2012

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

Notre Dame has had a line of successful quarterbacks come through the program including Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen, Dayne Crist and now Tommy Rees.

The problem is the last two on that list have not really lived up to expectations. Crist was injured in 2010 and never looked the same again, ultimately getting benched in favor of Rees, resulting in Crist transferring to Kansas. Rees has had serious turnover problems throughout his career.

Head coach Brian Kelly has done a masterful job of recruiting players to come to South Bend since taking over the program, and he has his eyes set on 5-star quarterback Gunner Kiel, who is expected to make his college decision within the week.

Can he be sold on being the starter for 2012?

Not a chance.

Rees is a solid quarterback, not a great one, but he gives his team a chance to win every game it plays. If he can stop turning the ball over, he would become one of the nation’s best.

But even if he can’t overcome his troubles, there is still plenty of talented help waiting in the wings. Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson are both mobile guys who are young and learning Kelly’s system.

Golson has yet to get any game experience but he has a high ceiling, as does Hendrix. If these are the type of guys Kelly is recruiting, why would Kiel, who is not terribly mobile, want to come to Notre Dame in the first place?

Most experts have him going to LSU, who has little on the depth chart after Zach Mettenberger, or to Vanderbilt, where there is no great quarterback on the entire roster.

Notre Dame can’t offer Kiel playing time without forcing other players to transfer, and that isn’t fair for anyone involved. The Irish will need to rest their fate on the shoulders of another quarterback.