Notre Dame fans are justifiably excited with the commitment of Gunner Kiel. He's one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the country. But just what does Kiel's commitment mean for the Irish? For that answer, let's turn to the excellent Notre Dame site, One Foot Down:
Immediate Future: Kiel will enter a crowded depth chart at QB, presumably behind 2011 starter Tommy Rees and the Goldrix chimera generated in the laboratory during the offseason.
As an early enrollee, he has the benefit of spring practice to become immersed in the offense and learn the playbook. He has an outside chance of competing for the job as a freshman, but not likely to win the starting job for the season opener vs. Navy in Dublin.
Kiel likely sits a year and retains the eligibility unless he is just too impressive in camp to keep on the sidelines.
Long Term/Career: I think Kiel is about as good a fit for Brian Kelly's offense as anyone out there. While not necessarily a dual-threat QB, he has the arm strength to stretch the field vertically as well as horizontally and is athletic enough to keep a defense honest as a running threat.
Don't expect him to run a lot of zone-read option plays, but the threat is there and will have to be accounted for. When comparisons come to mind, I think he reminds me a bit of Brady Quinn (but with better touch/accuracy) and should end up being a two or three year starter in South Bend.
I do wonder if Notre Dame will ever be able to have a top run game with a pro-style quarterback operating entirely from the shotgun. I suspect they will not. Still, the Irish can have an excellent offense with Kiel at the helm.
Kiel is the jewel of an excellent Notre Dame recruiting class. But how many scholarships do the Irish have left?
According to our friends at One Foot Down (click for excellent statistical breakdown), despite currently having 17 commitments, Notre Dame actually has room for six more recruits! That's certainly setting up the Irish for a strong finish.