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Irish Freshman QB Gunner Kiel Intends to Transfer

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After one year on the scout team, the country's top QB from the 2012 class will be leaving Notre Dame according to multiple reports.

Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

According to multiple reports---including THIS ONE from Irish Sports Daily---Notre Dame freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel intends to transfer. ISD reports:

His motives for transferring or his future plans aren't immediately clear. One source claims Notre Dame would leave the door open for Kiel possibly changing his mind and sticking out in South Bend. The Irish would love to have him back, but they understand things don't always work out.

As of right now the transfer is not official and some outlets are saying that Kiel is "exploring" his transfer options. Nevertheless, the news coming as the brutal Camp Kelly off-season workouts are beginning is a strong signal that Kiel is out of practice and moving on with his career.

Kiel certainly had one of the more entertaining recruiting sagas and the news that he is transferring really doesn't come as much of a surprise. In January 2nd of last year here were some thoughts about Kiel picking LSU, and some more when he flipped his commitment, literally at the last minute, to Notre Dame.

If you're keeping track Kiel surprised the world a little bit by initially picking Indiana, then switched to LSU, before finally signing with Notre Dame. The former No. 1 quarterback of the 2012 class will now leave for his 4th team in a year and a half.

For Kiel the timing of his decision is a little puzzling. He was expected to fight for minutes this year---some even believed he'd challenge Everett Golson as starter---and had four years of eligibility after a redshirt season in 2012. On the other hand, he was likely staring at 3 years behind Golson and the wait was likely just too long for such a talented prospect.

If Kiel really didn't find himself passing Golson it was better for everyone involved if he left ASAP. He'll now have to sit out another year and will be eligible for the 2014 season. Where he goes is anybody's guess, but judging by everything we've seen with Kiel over the past year and a half, he'll probably go somewhere that is very conducive to him starting once eligible again. Throwing some darts at the wall I'll say: Indiana, Cincinnati, Illinois, or Vanderbilt. It won't surprise me if he ends up at a non-BCS school either.

For the Irish, this affects the depth a little bit but it really removes any drama from the off-season. It will now be Golson's job with Tommy Rees playing out his senior season as the backup.

Most notably, the possible transfer of Kiel opens up a window of opportunity for redshirt junior Andrew Hendrix as he can fight Rees for backup minutes and will see his chances for a fifth season improve dramatically.

Also, remember that current freshman Malik Zaire has enrolled early and is already working out with the team. That gives the Irish 4 quarterbacks this season if Kiel is out.

This news will also affect the 2014 recruiting cycle where the Irish have only targeted one quarterback with fervor so far this year in California's Brandon Dawkins. Without Kiel, the Notre Dame coaching staff will likely have to cast their net a little wider and make sure to sign a signal caller next February.