The numbers were stacked against Gunner Kiel, and the highly-touted quarterback reportedly has decided to continue his college career somewhere other than at Notre Dame.
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According to multiple outlets, Kiel intends to transfer from Notre Dame just over a year after a last-second change of heart that brought him to South Bend. Kiel enrolled early at Notre Dame last January after spurning LSU, much to the chagrin of Les Miles -- "He did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program," the coach said -- but quickly faced an uphill climb for playing time with the Irish.
The emergence of Everett Golson likely played a major factor in Kiel's intent to transfer. After not playing in 2011, Golson quarterbacked Notre Dame to a BCS Championship berth in his first year of eligibility last season, meaning the sophomore has up to three more years remaining in South Bend.
Kiel spent 2012 leading Notre Dame's scout team, and it would've taken a massive push for him to unseat Golson as the No. 1 quarterback of the Irish. When asked about the possibility of transferring in early January, though, Kiel preached patience and said the thought hadn't crossed his mind.
"Anything could happen," Kiel said. "(Golson) could go to the NFL, you never know. But he could also get hurt, other people could get hurt. There's so many doors that could be opened that I just have to be patient and wait my turn and try to get better."
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With four-star recruit Malik Zaire already enrolled at Notre Dame, the Irish have a daunting depth chart at quarterback. Golson leads it, followed by Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix. Kiel perhaps could've played himself into a backup role with a quality showing in spring and fall practice, but the experience Rees -- entering his senior season -- brings to the table is something Kiel wasn't going to be able to compete with.
Kiel may have had the most talent of any Notre Dame quarterback, and that could've vaulted him above Rees, especially if Golson were to suffer a serious injury. But even with Kiel's best efforts, he may have only seen one year as a starter -- that being after Golson's eligibility would be exhausted in 2016.
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For someone with the pedigree and NFL aspirations of Kiel, that was a curious scenario. While nothing official has been announced by Kiel or Notre Dame at this point, it appears as if Kiel is headed to somewhere he feels he can flourish.