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January 17, 2012
Notre Dame is primed to pull off one of the biggest recruiting upsets in school history.
Sources told Irish Illustrated on Tuesday that quarterback Gunner Kiel's application at Notre Dame is complete and the five-star prospect is expected to enroll at the University today, which would serve as a de facto signed letter of intent.
Notre Dame plans to announce an official press release regarding its early enrollees and transfer student-athletes into the football program later today. Kiel is primed to join cornerback Tee Shepard and defensive lineman Sheldon Day on the Irish roster along with running back Amir Carlisle, who transferred from USC.
Notre Dame could also add four-star defensive end Arik Armstead to its early enrollment haul along with older brother Armond Armstead, another USC transfer. The elder Armstead, who started 17 games at USC before being held out last season by team doctors, arrived at Notre Dame on Sunday night to visit with father Guss Armstead.
The Armstead brothers appear to deciding between Notre Dame and Auburn. While Notre Dame's spring semester starts today, it is not expected that the Armsteads would return to campus in time for the opening day of enrollment. The final day for students to change schedules for the spring semester is Jan. 24.
The Kiel saga started nearly a year ago when Brian Kelly courted the nephew of former Notre Dame quarterback Blair Kiel. But after a spring visit and a few false starts, this recruitment appeared ready for a July conclusion when Kiel committed to Indiana, where he'd team with older brother Dusty Kiel, also a quarterback. The elder Kiel has since left the Hoosiers program.
Indiana's unstable season helped reopen Kiel's recruitment, which turned into a three-team race between Notre Dame, LSU and Vanderbilt. Barely a day after Kiel re-opened his recruitment in mid-October, he was back in South Bend during the Notre Dame-USC weekend.
While Notre Dame appeared to win over Kiel's family, the quarterback eventually committed to LSU on Dec. 27. He stuck with the Tigers for barely three weeks before flipping again, this time to Notre Dame.
Rumors of Kiel's potentially program shifting switch circulated Monday after the quarterback didn't arrive at LSU as planned over the weekend. Sources told Irish Illustrated on Monday that Notre Dame was primed to land the quarterback in a recruitment that never ended after that pledge to LSU.
By Monday night, Notre Dame's coaches were beginning to spread the Kiel news to commitments and recruiting targets. Just after midnight Notre Dame's student newspaper, The Observer, reported that Kiel would attend classes at the University this week, citing a school source.
The Observer was the first news outlet to confirm Kiel's impending enrollment.
Kiel joins a crowded but unsettled quarterback depth chart with Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson. Paired with new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chuck Martin, spring practice figures to be a tumultuous time for Notre Dame's quarterbacks.
Considering Kiel's up-and-down recruitment, the five-star quarterback may have no trouble adapting.