Posted by Bryan Fischer
Quite a busy week on the recruiting trail.
Things kicked off on Friday with the decommitment of five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel from Indiana, which was surprising only in regards to the timing. Many were quite surprised when he chose the Hoosiers over national powers like Oklahoma and Alabama but it made sense on some levels - his brother was there, they were the in-state school close to home, Kevin Wilson had a good reputation for developing quarterbacks.
Still, top-flight quarterbacks do not usually wind up at schools like Indiana and especially not when there were not other major recruits coming with them and winning is a major issue. I went to see Kiel play in his playoff game but he was held out by coaches for precautionary reasons after he was slightly injured during practice. In talking with him after the game, you got the sense that because he was "reconsidering" his commitment, this was an opening for him to make sure that he took his official visits and checked out other schools.
"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," he said. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."
Kiel has remained fairly quiet about his recruitment but you almost get the sense that he was boxed into making his commitment too early. He was planning to announce in late June but kept pushing things back and pushing things back. Then fellow top 100 signal-caller Jameis Winston committed to Florida State, which set off a chain of dominoes. Kiel's other finalists, perhaps sensing that he wouldn't be picking them, moved on to others. It's rare for the five-star guy not to be the one that sets off the chain but that could be the case here.
Now he's back on the market and looking at schools. He was part of a star-studded visiting class in South Bend for USC-Notre Dame (more on that later) and figures to quickly schedule several visits to schools. It's hard to say which schools are in the running since he's pretty tight-lipped but polished quarterbacks like Kiel don't fall off trees and you'd have to think he received quite a few calls from college coaches. Since he wants to enroll early this won't be a four month ordeal but it will be an interesting six or so weeks for the country's number two player.
Stars came out in South Bend
There are some games that just seem to draw the official visitors out and Notre Dame's rivalry game against USC was billed as their Super Bowl on and off the field. 12 members from the Maxpreps Top 100 were in South Bend taking in the sights and sounds over the weekend, with several coming in Saturday so as to spend an extra night in town before flying out Monday.
Of course, things didn't exactly go as planned for the Irish on the field, falling to the Trojans 31-17 but that didn't have too much of an effect on the visitors.
"The game atmosphere was crazy, even the pre-game atmosphere was crazy," Zach Banner told 247sports. "The whole school was amped up and you could feel the tradition. It's an old rivalry and you could just feel a lot was on the line. I like how Notre Dame sticks with their tradition."
The problem for Notre Dame wasn't the weather, crowd or anything like that, it was that they A) lost the game by more than the score indicated and B) lost to a school they're recruiting against for several of the visitors. Recent USC decomit Arik Armstead was among those in attendance, as were several other California recruits. It will be awhile before the freshness of the official visit wears off of the players but, long-term, losing to USC in the manner they did doesn't exactly help Brian Kelly's efforts.
The Irish are still going to recruit very well however, and are in line for another top 15 class this year. They still have a very good chance at landing running back Keith Marshall and several others so Notre Dame fans shouldn't get too caught up in how many commitments they bring in from this group until further down the road. The biggest thing the team has to do now is win, because that seems to cure just about everything on the recruiting trail.
Video of the week
Check out this reverse by KJ Dillon and his alternative method of reaching the end zone.
Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford will take their official visits to Ohio State this week.
With Georgia off last week, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo went to check out commit Brice Ramsey.
Guito Ervilus is back on the field and considering North Carolina, Louisville, Tennessee, Florida State and Florida.
Arkansas commit Jakarri Thomas remains firm in his commitment to the Hogs.
National Notes: Kiel, Notre Dame's big weekend
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:52 am
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Alabama, Arik Armstead, Arkansas, Brian Kelly, Brice Ramsey, Dwayne Stanford, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Guito Ervilus, Gunner Kiel, Jakarri Thomas, Keith Marshall, Kevin Wilson, KJ Dillon, Louisville, Mike Bobo, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, USC, Zach Banner