According to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer, former five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel has been on Cincinnati’s campus the past two days and took in the Bearcats scrimmage on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. A source told Groeschen that the Bearcats believe they have a good shot at landing the former Notre Dame signal-caller, who is transferring after one season in South Bend.
Of course, Tommy Tuberville is looking to put his stamp on the Cincinnati program after arriving from Texas Tech. The former Red Raiders head coach took over the Bearcats from Butch Jones, who left to fill the Tennessee opening. Being able to land a talent such as Kiel, who was committed to Indiana and LSU before deciding to attend Notre Dame, is a risk that Tuberville is apparently willing to take.
There had been whispers that major schools might not have the strong interest as they had in Kiel last offseason because he had made multiple verbal commitments during the recruiting process before landing at Notre Dame. But, of course, coaches will always be willing to take risks on talent.
If things fall through at Cincy, here are some other possible landing spots for the former top pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2012.
Tennessee: The Vols are the biggest name on this list, and Kiel would get to play for a coach in Jones who comes from an offensive background. Tyler Bray is moving onto the NFL, so the Vols have competition this offseason for the starting quarterback job between rising junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman. Freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson arrive on campus this summer, and there were a lot of recruiting analysts who believed that Dobbs is a very underrated prospect. However, there are rumors that Kiel is intrigued by new Vols offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian. And if Kiel truly believes in his abilities to be a major-college starting QB, he should embrace any challenges from fellow signal-callers on the roster.
Vanderbilt: Commodores head coach James Franklin did his best to land Kiel in 2012, but the program instead was able to sign Patton Robinette. This past February, the ‘Dores then added Chad Kanoff and Johnny McCrary. So the QB depth chart has certainly changed in Nashville since Franklin lost out on Kiel. However, if Franklin was enamored with Kiel once, perhaps he can be intrigued again no matter how many quarterbacks he will have on board.
Ball State: With Indiana still feeling scorned by Kiel, the Cardinals would give Kiel that in-state option if he decides to remain in the Hoosier State. And current starter Keith Wenning will be moving on after this coming season.
Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks would provide Kiel with a solid MAC program that has just produced future NFL draft pick Zac Dysert.
The JUCO route: If Kiel elects to play at a junior-college in 2013, he could possibily re-energize his recruitment with a big season and avoid getting rusty as he wouldn’t have to sit out a second consecutive season. However, if he goes to a junior-college program then he would lose a year of learning a new playbook, coaching staff and teammates.