Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 7:06 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
After decommitting from Indiana and delaying his decision several times, Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel has finally pulled the trigger and committed to LSU.
"I can't wait to play in the SEC," Kiel told 247Sports. "A lot of people call it the NFL of college football and it will be an exciting time. It would mean a lot to be a starting quarterback in such a great conference at a great school. I really love the players and the coaching staff. They were all great to me on my visit and seemed very welcoming."
Ranked as the top signal-caller in the class of 2012 and number two overall recruit by Maxpreps, Kiel holds scholarship offers from just about every program in the country, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, USC and others. He surprised plenty of folks by committing to Indiana in late July and new head coach Kevin Wilson but opened things back up in October. He quickly scheduled official visits to each of his finalists, Notre Dame, LSU and Vanderbilt.
"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," Kiel told CBSSports.com at the time. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns this season while also rushing for 11 scores. He led Columbus East to an 11-2 record his senior year and was named Indiana's "Mr. Football" by the Indianapolis Star.
Kiel's brother, Dusty, is a sophomore at Indiana and his uncle, Blair, played at Notre Dame.
The strong-armed and aptly named Gunner will enroll early in Baton Rouge after playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7th.
The commitment of the top quarterback in the country is another big boost for the Tigers class of 2012, which now sits at 22 commits. LSU took three quarterbacks with last year's class and Kiel figures to battle talented junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger for the starting job upon arriving on campus. Prior to Kiel's pledge, Les Miles' next recruiting class was ranked 9th overall in the MaxPreps team rankings.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: October 22, 2011 12:58 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SHELBYVILLE, Ind. -- In news that was shocking only with regards to its timing, Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel decommitted from Indiana and opened up his recruitment Friday.
"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," Kiel said. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."
Ranked as the top quarterback in the class of 2012 and number two overall in the country by Maxpreps, Kiel committed to the Hoosiers in late July over national powers such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and USC.
"I think I made the right decision," he said of his original pledge. "Things happen. I thought hard about it but decided to go out and reevaluate it."
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder told new Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson Thursday night, two days after he was officially selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"I just called him and told him I was re-evaluating my decision and will go out and visit some more schools," Kiel said.
Brother Dusty is a redshirt sophomore in Bloomington and Kiel maintained that the decommitment from the program had nothing to do with Dusty or the coaching staff. Their uncle, Blair, played quarterback at Notre Dame and the aptly-named Gunner will take an unofficial visit to see the Irish play USC Saturday night as he restarts the recruiting process.
"Yeah, I'm showing some interest in Notre Dame," Kiel said. "I'm looking forward to a great atmosphere. That's definitely a big rivalry game and it should be a lot of fun."
After selecting Indiana, both of Kiel's other finalists, Oklahoma, Mizzouri and Alabama, added commitments from quarterbacks. The complicated situation with the schools he previously considered is one explanation why the signal-caller remained tight-lipped as to which programs he would be looking at.
"I'm going to consider some other schools but I'm going to keep the (list) kind of personal right now," he said. "I just want to stay low again."
No decision has been made as to where he'll take official visits to but he'll settle on the first few destinations shortly after consulting with family members. Kiel added that distance is not a factor for any school and he will be using a set list of criteria that each finalist needs to have.
"Really just the same stuff I looked at last time," he said. "There's three main things: education, how well the coaching staff gets along with the players and how the players interact with each other and if they're a big family."
Columbus East defeated Shelbyville in the opening round of the Indiana state playoffs 49-21 on Friday night but the five-star didn't take a snap in the game, sitting out after slightly injuring himself during practice.
"I'm just a little nicked up, a little sore," Kiel said. "Coach just told me to rest up this week and get healthy for our next opponent next week. I could have played, I felt really healthy. I came out here and warmed up with the guys and was running around. I was good to go, just a little sore. I'll be alright."
Kiel is set to graduate in December and will enroll after playing in the All-American game, really the only clues as to what sort of timetable he is operating on for his decision.
"I'm still going to graduate at the end of the semester," he said. "I'm on the right path and have my grades looking good and I'm ready to go."
More on Maxpreps: Notre Dame-USC game big for recruiting
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
In news that was shocking only with regards to its timing, five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel has decommitted from Indiana and reopened his recruitment.
“I’m just reevaluating my decision and plan on taking some future visits to other colleges,” Kiel told 247Sports on Friday morning.
Ranked as the top quarterback in the class of 2012 and number two overall by Maxpreps, Kiel committed to the Hoosiers in late July over national powers such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and USC. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder told new Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson Thursday night according to the report, two days after he was officially selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Kiel's brother, Dusty, is a sophomore at Indiana and his uncle, Blair, played at Notre Dame. In addition to taking several official visits, the aptly-named Gunner will take an unofficial visit to see the Irish play USC on Saturday.
After selecting Indiana, both of Kiel's other finalists, Oklahoma and Alabama, added commitments from quarterbacks. His Columbus East team will play Shelbyville in the opening round of the Indiana state playoffs on Friday night.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:16 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 10:04 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
MALIBU, Calif. -- Perfection isn't something that is easy to come by but 24 of the nation's top quarterbacks found the conditions to be as close to perfect as you could be on a picturesque Southern California day to open the Elite 11 quarterback competition on the campus of Pepperdine University.
Amid signal-callers who had succeeded in high school, college and the NFL, the one player that drew plenty of attention with every throw was Columbus (Ind.) star Gunner Kiel. One of the handful of uncommitted players at the event, he was slated to have already made a decision last month and again in the middle of July. But those dates came and went and so everybody wanted know just who was standing out and when the top-ranked quarterback would pull the trigger on a school.
"I just decided to go and check out my options again and what was out there," Kiel said. "I tried (to set another date). I tried that next week but that didn't really work out. I'm done putting dates on it and whenever I feel ready to commit, that's when I'm going to."
Wearing his familiar white and orange shoes, Kiel was sharp throughout the two hour workout overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He threw a tight spiral on just about every throw and was one of the few quarterbacks who stayed balanced throughout the throwing motion.
Because he often declines interview requests, Kiel knows that there's intense interest in his decision and though he had no trouble answering any question that came his way from a throng of reporters, the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder wouldn't offer up many hints as to which program he was leaning towards.
"I like to keep it kind of personal, I'm always a team player too," he said. "I like to focus my time on my team and school work. I think of college stuff all the time but at the end of the day, I'm not going to make it a big thing. I'll probably tell the team and my family and it will probably gradually get out.
"It takes a lot out of you for a teenager but I have a strong family that's always by my side."
Kiel's older brothers are quite familiar with the ins and outs of the recruiting process. Dusty is Indiana's possible starter this season while other brother Drew is reading defenses and calling out plays at Illinois State. While the conversations between the Kiel brothers might not always be about football, the pair have been an invaluable resource for Gunner to lean on.
"It's huge, they know what's out there and what's not," said the youngest Kiel. "I couldn't be more thankful for more blessed with a better family or better team."
Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Alabama have mostly been the four teams out front for the five-star quarterback and many believe the Hoosiers are only on the list because of his brother. Ask Kiel though and he'll dismiss talk that it would be a "shock" if he were to play for the local team.
"I wouldn't say that," he said. "Indiana has a great coaching staff and they're definitely going to win football games. Coach (Kevin) Wilson is a fiery guy. My brother is going to be playing quarterback for them, which is awesome. I'll be at games and cheering him on. When I talk to him, I know they're going to win football games."
Kiel said that he does not plan to take any other visits and that he has already taken a trip to see all of his final schools. One notable thing he mentioned Monday was the fact that he would not go to a school that is looking to take two quarterbacks in the class of 2012. That would seem to rule out Oklahoma and Missouri, who both picked up players at the position in the past few weeks, but MaxPreps' top signal-caller wouldn't let on about any of his finalists in too much detail.
"There's some schools out there, i just kind of try and keep it low-key," he said. "I think everyone's great that I'm interested in. They have great facilities, great football teams, it's just kind of hard to make a decision right now.
"I'll probably decide before school."
Performing at events like the Elite 11 are one of the few times players get a chance to gauge how they stack up against competition nationally. Ranked as the second best player in the country overall, the red haired quarterback isn't feeling the heat from others and is focused only on improving himself throughout the rest of the week.
"There's always pressure out there," Kiel said. "At the end of the day, you've got to have fun and let it sling and not care. I know it's out there that I'm the number one quarterback in the nation but that's just a number."
Mangum continues to impress
As the camp counselors announced who won the final drill of the day, it was no surprise to hear them call out Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum's name after the BYU recruit continued to show off his accuracy and strong arm on the final stop of the camp circuit.
"It feels good to come out on the first day and do well to start the week off right," Mangum said. "I know there's a lot of talented quarterbacks out here so it feels good to kind of get your name out there within the group."
Mangum was the top quarterback at last week's The Opening in Oregon and he picked up right where he left off in Malibu, winning the Golden Gun award for best accuracy during the final drill of the day.
"I'm trying to keep the momentum going," he said. "I'm playing well right now and hopefully I can keep it up the rest of the week. It definitely feels good to come out here and play well."
As the one of the few players from Idaho to receive much attention nationally, competing with the top players from around the country - and more often than not beating them - has been welcome preparation for the next level.
"You've only been here a few hours but you can already feel the competitive nature that these guys have," he said. "They're here for a reason. It's good to get to know these guys on a level other than football."
The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder will get to wear a special gold jersey throughout Tuesday as a result of being the top performer in the final drills.
Pike loving the experience
Auburn commit and Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback Zeke Pike has already been around the country for 7-on-7 competitions but walking off the field at Pepperdine was an altogether new, and very welcome, experience for the 6-foot-5, 230-pound football player.
"It's great just coming out here and competing with the top guys in the country," Pike said. "Even better than that is to be out here in California and Malibu. It doesn't get much better than this."
Pike is still recovering from minor shoulder surgery but was throwing the ball well at the end of the day after starting a bit slow. As someone who is a bit raw, picking up tips and tricks from the instructors has been vital to becoming a better quarterback.
"It's fun to come out here with guys who know what they're talking about and be able to pick up teaching points," he said. "It's a lot different but it doesn't get much better than this, practicing football with the ocean in the background."
With camp counselors such as Florida State's E.J. Emanuel and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, Pike has dedicated himself to soaking up anything and everything they and others have to offer as advice.
"You just try to take anything you can get back," Pike said. "You're working with Trent (Dilfer) and Jordan Palmer was in our group, he's five minutes from where I live. It's kind of good to come out here and meet him, we'll probably work a little when I get back. You just try and take something to improve your game."