Entering the 2012 season, the University of Notre Dame quarterback search was a wide open race. After 2011 starter Tommy Rees was suspended, the leading candidate turned to redshirt freshman Everett Golson.
When Golson was named a starter, not many knew what to expect. Golson was talked about more of an athlete than a quarterback and many wondered how he would do in coach Brian Kelly’s system.
For the most part, Golson took the job from day one and never relinquished it. There were some growing pains and Rees did have to step in at times to lead the Irish to victories over the University of Purdue and Brigham Young University, a game Golson did not play in due to injury.
In the end, Golson had a very successful season.
In his first season as a college quarterback, Golson lead his team to a perfect regular season record while piling up 12 touchdown passes thru the air, as well as running in six touchdowns. Compared to his six interceptions thrown all year, the 2,405 yards he put up is very impressive for a freshman and some would even call him a sleeper Heisman pick for this upcoming season.
The problem with that is, Golson may not even be the starting quarterback come Aug. 31.
Gunner Kiel, the highest ranked quarterback from the 2012 class sat on the bench all last year. Kiel did not come to Notre Dame to ride the bench and a rivalry may be brewing between the two.
While Kelly’s offense has tended to focus around a mobile quarterback, there is no denying the fact that Kiel could change all that. The 6’4” 210lb product from Columbus, Indiana surely can play the quarterback position at the collegiate level.
Before signing with Notre Dame, Kiel had a roller coaster recruiting. He first committed to Indiana University, then to Louisiana State University and then finally committed to Notre Dame. Kiel also drew some harsh comments from LSU head coach Les Miles citing some players were not tough enough to join LSU. While he may have never mentioned Kiel by name, the comments were surely directed towards him.
Kiel is what coaches look for in a quarterback. He turned down offers from everyone from the University of Alabama to the University of Southern California. While he may not have the raw athletic ability of Golson, Kiel is mobile enough to get out of trouble and scramble while still looking down the field.
Golson may get the first crack at the job in 2013, and why shouldn’t he? He only lead his team to a undefeated season while improving on the field almost every game. But if there is a slip up, Kiel will look to gain control and never give it back.