The college career of Gunner Kiel has been a busy one even though he has yet to even take a single snap in a real game. He enters his redshirt sophomore season in 2014 and he has been a high-profile player since his days as a high school sensation, but not for his exploits on the field. Kiel has jumped programs like he changes his socks, going from the Indiana Hoosiers to the LSU Tigers to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before landing with the Cincinnati Bearcats last year. Is Kiel finally ready to prove himself on the field in 2014?
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound Kiel is a physical specimen for the quarterback position blending size and athleticism to be an effective dual-threat quarterback. It made him a highly sought recruit out of high school and was considered a major get for Cincinnati when he decided to transfer from Notre Dame after the 2012 season. He sat out last season and used his time effectively to learn the offense and prepare himself to be the next man up following the graduation of Brendon Kay this offseason.
In the spring game, he looked very sharp leading the Bearcats’ first-team offense. He finished the day 17 of 22 for 300 yards while leading the ofense to three touchdowns and a field goal in the first half. His performance made him the clear-cut frontrunner for the starting quarterback job in 2014, though former starter Munchie Legaux is still rehabbing from a leg injury. Even if the sixth-year senior is available for the start of the season, though that doesn’t seem likely, Kiel is still the likely starter this fall.
And he’s going to have plenty of weapons at his disposal to be a success. Cincinnati boasts a deep receiving corps with four of the top five receivers returning from 2013. The group is further boosted by the addition of former running back Ralph David Abernathy IV as a slot receiver to give the dynamic playmaker more opportunities in space. In short, Kiel has all the tools to deliver on his massive potential in 2014.
Gunner Kiel has been a much-maligned figure for his indecisiveness in picking a program to play for. He’ll finally find the field at Cincinnati this fall and it will be time for him to prove himself. Is he up to the challenge?