Five-star football recruit Gunner Kiel has verbally committed to play for LSU next season over Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, according to reports.
LSU, currently the nation's No. 1 team, will be playing in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9 against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Next year, the Tigers' quarterback situation will open up when current QBs Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee both graduate, which will leave unproven backups Zach Mettenberger, Jerrard Randall and Stephen Rivers on the roster.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Kiel, who is ranked second among quarterbacks and 20th nationally by ESPN, originally committed to in-state Indiana in July, but later renounced that commitment in mid-October. Although he would have had a chance to play with his older brother, Dusty, who started several games at quarterback for the Hoosiers this season, Kiel's father told ESPN.com many factors sparked the change of heart.
At times it got hard, but I surrounded myself with great people, Kiel said to Rivals.com Wednesday. My family, teammates and coaches all had my back 100 percent and I feel that God had a plan for me. I'm ready to start my journey down to LSU now.
Kiel, Indiana's Mr. Football and the Gatorade Player of the Year, threw for 2,523 yards and 28 touchdowns, leading Columbus East High to the state semifinals. Over the last month, Kiel has visited LSU twice: the weekend of Nov. 25, when LSU played against Arkansas, and then a week later for his official visit.
Those two visits made up his mind.
From the first time I went down there to the last time I talked to Coach [Les] Miles and Coach [Steve] Kragthorpe I just had a really good feeling about it, Kiel said. I think everything was a good fit and Baton Rouge is a special place. The coaches are nice, humble people who want to get the job done and the [LSU players] were outgoing and respectful. They introduced themselves to me right when I got there. When I went down there and met all the guys I felt it was perfect fit for me. I felt it was the right time to pull the trigger and I'm very happy with my decision.
LSU can't comment on Kiel's decision, which LSU coaches learned of last Friday, until he signs a national letter of intent on Feb. 1. Kiel, an early enrollee candidate, is set to enroll at LSU in January and will be able to participate in spring practices with the Tigers. However, prior to starting classes, Kiel will participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 7.
I'm just going to go in, try my best, work hard and compete, Kiel said. Anywhere you go you have to compete, so I am going to try to learn the playbook as fast as possible, get as many reps as possible and do my best.