Gunner Kiel is leaving Notre Dame without ever playing a down for the Fighting Irish.
The redshirt freshman quarterback has decided to leave Notre Dame after he fell below sophomore starter Everett Golson on the depth chart. Though it was rumored for weeks, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly made the departure official on Tuesday.
Neither Kiel nor Kelly have said where the quarterback will be transferring, but Kelly noted that it’s not any of the Irish’s upcoming opponents. That leaves out Temple, Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, USC, Air Force, Navy, Pitt, BYU, and Stanford.
Kelly thought Gunner Kiel would have had a good chance to compete for the starting job next season.
“We had kind of created an opportunity for him to compete in the spring,” Kelly said. “So maybe a little surprised from that standpoint, because he was actually told he’d be given the opportunity to compete. Sometimes when you don’t hear that, you wouldn’t be surprised.
“While we are sad when kids don’t go through the entire program, we want what’s best for them. We are educators as well as coaches.”
Gunner Kiel was no stranger to changing his mind. As a blue chip high school recruit, he had originally committed to Indiana before changing course and declaring for LSU. But then just before national signing day, he nixed the Tigers and opted to go to Notre Dame instead.
“I was dumb during the recruiting process,” Kiel said. “I couldn’t really make up my mind, but I was also doing what was best for me at that time, and that was picking a college. That much pressure and being so highly ranked, I couldn’t make up my mind.”
The transfer comes as a bit of a surprise given that Kiel gave no hint of wanting to leave when he talked to reporters before the BCS Championship game.
“It honestly hasn’t,” Gunner Kiel said during media day at Sun Life Stadium when asked if the thought of transferring had crossed his mind. “I’ve been more focused on the season and been more focused on school and other things that are more important to me.”