Gunner Kiel first set foot on a college campus in January 2012. On Aug. 30, 2014, he'll finally play in his first game.
The former five-star quarterback, who began his career at Notre Dame, is now embracing his opportunity to start at Cincinnati.
Kiel redshirted the 2012 season, though his outlook to start didn't seem good after watching Everett Golson quarterback Notre Dame to the BCS Championship. Still, Kiel said at the 2013 BCS Championship that there were "so many doors" that could open for him to wind up seeing time at Notre Dame.
But Kiel decided to transfer from Notre Dame before spring practice began in 2013, and later told the Cincinnati Enquirer a poor relationship with offensive coordinator Chuck Martin contributed to his decision to leave South Bend.
"My quarterbacks coach (Chuck Martin) and I really didn’t have the relationship I wanted, and that was one reason I didn’t like it," Kiel said. "I tried to put in the work."
Even when one of those doors opened -- when Golson was exiled for the 2013 semester after cheating on a test -- Kiel wouldn't have been guaranteed a starting role over Tommy Rees.
Before committing to Notre Dame, Kiel pledged verbal commitments to Indiana and LSU. His decommitment from LSU caused national headlines when Tigers coach Les Miles said Kiel didn't have the "chest" to quarterback the Baton Rouge-based program.
Kiel earned the starting gig at Cincinnati as incumbent starter Munchie Legaux continues to work his way back from a devastating knee injury suffered last September against Illinois.