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Notre Dame

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Reports: Irish QB Kiel plans transfer

Kiel

Gunner Kiel’s time at Notre Dame appears to be over.

The quarterback informed coach Brian Kelly he plans to transfer, according to multiple reports.

Kiel could decide not to leave the Irish and the team would keep the door open for him, according to Irish Sports Daily, which first reported Kiel’s decision. Notre Dame did not have a comment on the reports Thursday night.

Kiel enrolled early to Notre Dame last year and competed with Everett Golson, Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix for the starting job.

But after Golson won the starting job and Rees was the main backup, Kiel worked with the scout team during his freshman season.

The Irish went 12-0 in the regular season and lost to Alabama 42-14 in the BCS championship game Jan. 7.

The former five-star recruit made multiple commitments during his recruiting process coming out of Columbus East.

Kiel initially committed to Indiana before backing out of that pledge to explore his options. The nephew of former Irish quarterback Blair Kiel was then set to enroll early at LSU before deciding to switch to Notre Dame.

Kiel threw for 2,517 yards with 28 touchdowns and ran for 482 yards and 11 TDs as a senior in high school. He led Columbus East to the Class 4A semistate and was named the 2011 Indiana Mr. Football and the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year.

“Coach Kelly was great throughout my recruitment, as many times our conversations had nothing do with football,” Kiel said in a statement when he enrolled at Notre Dame on Jan. 17, 2012.

“That really showed me he had my best intentions in mind. He was persistent, yet also patient while recruiting me, and I look forward to playing for him the next four years. I couldn’t be happier to be a member of the Fighting Irish football team. I’m excited about the future of the program.”

Kiel has four years of eligibility remaining after not playing this season.

He would have to sit out his first year after transferring because of NCAA rules.

Kiel’s decision to leave the program leaves Notre Dame with four scholarship quarterbacks when the Irish open spring practice March 20 as early enrollee Malik Zaire will join Golson, Rees and Hendrix.

Golson will be the presumed No. 1 quarterback after going 10-1 as Notre Dame’s starter last season. He threw for 2,405 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions during the season and completed 21 of 36 passes for 270 yards with a touchdown and interception and ran for a score in the BCS title game.

Golson also ran for 298 yards on 94 carries with six touchdowns during the season.

Rees made two starts last season after sitting out the season opener because of a suspension after a May arrest.

He completed 34 of 59 passes for 436 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Hendrix played in three games last season, completing five of seven passes for 55 yards.

tkrausz@jg.net

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