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Notre Dame Quarterback Gunner Kiel to Transfer?

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame  is not losing head coach Brian Kelly, but the Fighting Irish faces the prospect of losing their top recruit of a year ago.

Gunner Kiel was the top quarterback recruit a season ago and could elect to transfer to another school in order to play sooner as he is behind rising redshirt sophomore quarterback Everett Golson on the depth chart.

Provided Golson uses all of his eligibility at Notre Dame, the earliest Kiel could expect to be a full-time starter is in 2016. That is a long way away for a quarterback as talented as Kiel to wait and watch on the sidelines. I can’t see him on Notre Dame’s campus if he can’t beat Golson out for the starting job in 2013.

Notre Dame was the third choice for Kiel during his highly publicized recruitment last season when he initially committed to Indiana before changing his mind and choosing LSU before ultimately settling on the Irish. His decision to enroll at Notre Dame was because his family wanted him to remain close to home.

Kiel said all the right things at the Discover BCS National Championship Game last week saying he’s honored to be a part of a team like Notre Dame and how much of a learning process his freshman season has been stressing patience and continuing to work to get better.

Politically correct indeed, but the last thing I would expect Kiel to say before the team’s biggest game in 25 years is that he is upset about being behind Golson on the depth chart and he’s going to transfer as soon as the school year is over and cause an epic distraction.

My prediction is Kiel goes into spring practice hoping to impress Kelly and take that momentum into summer practices and make it hard for Kelly to keep him behind Golson on the depth chart another year.

Is it possible Kelly could bench Golson one year after he led the team to the national championship game?

Crazier things have happened in college football, but if Kiel isn’t named the starter in 2013, my guess is that he transfers and sits out next season with three seasons of eligibility remaining. I think he heads to the school that first secured his commitment and for Kiel to lead the Hoosiers in 2014.

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Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.