Fayetteville, Ark. – The announcement of the transfer of Notre Dame player Gunner Kiel on March 7 sent college football fans aflutter wondering where the immensely talented former top high school quarterback in the nation may end up. One good fit for Kiel, and the Hogs, is the University of Arkansas.
For those of you unfamiliar with Gunner Kiel he was rated as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the 2012 recruiting class by Rivals. Listed at six-foot four-inches, 220 pounds, the Columbus, Ind., native seemingly had the world in his pocket just over a year ago.
MaxPreps and Tom Lemming had Kiel as their No. 2 overall player regardless of position and Scout.com confirmed Rivals ranking by listing him as the top high school quarterback in the nation. The 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year threw for 2,517 yards with 28 touchdown passes in his senior season. He also tucked the ball and ran for 482 yards scoring 11 times.
The Columbus East High School product graduated early enrolling at Notre Dame for the 2012 spring semester. Kiel ended up buried on the depth chart with redshirt freshman Everett Golson winning the starting job and junior Tommy Rees securing the No. 2 spot under center.
To make matters worse Kiel was slotted behind redshirt sophomore Andrew Hendrix with highly touted dual-threat QB Malik Zaire (Rivals 4-star) coming to campus as part of the Irish’s 2013 recruiting class.
During Kiel’s recruiting he was a one-time University of Indiana commitment and also a verbal to the LSU Tigers class. While LSU may still be a good fit for Kiel as senior to be Zach Mettenberger has one year left in Baton Rouge, new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has a solid reputation of taking transferring quarterbacks and quickly easing the signal callers into an offensive force instead of a run-of-the-mill quarterback handing the ball off to the tailback.
Bielema took in former ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O’Brien from Maryland and most notably took in former N.C. State starter Russell Wilson.
Wilson transferred in 2011 earning an immediate spot as a starter for the Badgers. Coupled with Montee Ball, Wilson helped lead Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl while earning third-team All-American honors (Yahoo Sports) and setting a school record for passing touchdowns in a season with 33; second most single season touchdown passes in Big Ten history behind Drew Brees’ 39.
The Arkansas roster will lose senior Brandon Mitchell to graduation at the end of the 2013 season. The Hogs have talented 2012 spot starter Brandon Allen, a sophomore in 2013, with Allen’s younger brother Austin signing to play for the Hogs as part of the 2013 recruiting class.
The added depth of Kiel on the Arkansas roster would be a much needed bonus for a team looking to balance out heavy losses by poor recruiting classes from 2010 and 2011, transfers, and team dismissals. The bump in perceived talent under center would also make each Arkansas quarterback better with tougher in-practice competition for the coveted starting spot.