Last week it was reported that Gunner Kiel was in attendance at a Cincinnati spring scrimmage, with the Bearcats reportedly optimistic of their chances of landing the former Notre Dame quarterback.
A few days later, it appears there could be some Southern competition for Kiel’s future services.
In a conversation with ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, Kiel confirmed that he has already been in contact with SEC schools and in-state rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss — divisional rivals of LSU, which Kiel had verbally committed to before abruptly flipping to the Irish — as well as Kansas State. Additionally, Tennessee was mentioned by the player as a possibility along with MAC schools Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Northern Illinois.
Kiel, the top-rated quarterback in the Class of 2012, told Schad that he would like to make a decision on a new school at the end of spring football, meaning one should be forthcoming in late April or early May.
“This is something you don’t want to do,” Kiel said of transferring. “But at the same time I’m doing what’s in my best interest and to get on the field.”
The fact that Kiel couldn’t get on the field with the Irish played a role in his decision to leave the South Bend school. Kiel spent his true freshman season as the scout team quarterback, and would’ve entered spring practice/summer camp behind starter Everett Golson and fighting for reps with a handful of other quarterbacks on the roster.
On that competition front, Irish head coach Brian Kelly said he and his staff “had created an opportunity for him to compete in the spring, so I was a little surprised from that standpoint.”
In that same vein, Kiel told Schad that he wants to go to a school where he will have “a great relationship with my position coach” as well as an opportunity to win the starting job in 2014. Or, as some might derisively say, the opportunity to be handed the starting job without an actual competition.