Five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel has apparently had an
11th-hour change of heart and decided to switch his commitment from LSU to
Notre Dame, sources tell Scout.com.
Kiel committed to the Tigers on Dec. 27, a pledge that came after the Columbus, Ind., native backed away from a commitment to Indiana on
The nation’s No. 1-ranked quarterback prospect was scheduled
to arrive in Baton Rouge on Jan. 14 as an early enrollee for the spring
semester, but Kiel apparently never boarded the plane.
On Monday morning, multiple sources confirmed that Kiel was
not on LSU’s campus – two days after he was set to arrive.
A source later said Kiel was not in a 3 p.m. meeting for
early enrollees. A source also confirmed that Kiel was not yet enrolled in
classes at LSU.
The spring semester begins on Tuesday, and students have
until Jan. 26 to add classes.
Shortly after 9 p.m., Scout.com’s Dave Berk tweeted
(@DMBerk), “Very good source just informed me ND players have been told Kiel to
be in class on Tuesday (in South Bend).”
Without Kiel, the LSU class sits at 19 commitments, with the
maximum number of signees capped at 25.
On Jan. 5, Patterson four-star linebacker prospect Lorenzo Phillips said “I am going to commit to
LSU either before my visit on Jan. 20 or while I am there. It will definitely
be this month.”
On Monday, former Redemptorist High School running back Jeremy Hill said
he planned to meet with LSU administration and coaches this week to finalize
his admittance into the university.
Hill said he plans to sign as part of the 2012 class,
meaning that if Phillips and Hill follow through as planned, the Tigers would
be up to 21 commitments.
With four potential spots remaining, the Tigers will likely
press for a quarterback prospect, and two players to watch are Jameis Winston
and Jeremy Liggins.
With Kiel out of the picture, Winston could give the Tigers
a closer look, though Alabama, Florida State or the MLB Draft all appear to be
more likely outcomes at this stage.
Liggins, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound, dual-threat quarterback out of
Oxford, Miss., could be the most likely option. The nation’s No. 19-ranked
quarterback prospect is scheduled to make an official visit to Baton Rouge this
weekend, and Liggins will round out his recruitment process with a trip to
Alabama on Jan. 27. Liggins has offers from his top four schools of LSU,
Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Phillips and Liggins aren’t the only big names slated to be
in Baton Rouge this weekend.
Five-star prospect Mario Edwards, the nation’s No. 1-ranked
defensive end, will also be in Baton Rouge on an official visit, a trip that
comes in the wake of sophomore Michael Brockers, one of LSU’s top linemen,
announcing that he will forgo his junior season and enter the NFL draft.
Missouri City, Texas, standout and Texas A&M commitment
Corey Thompson, a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 15-ranked outside
linebacker, is also scheduled to be on campus for his official visit.
LSU commitment Torshiro Davis, who took official visits to
Texas and Nebraska, will end his string of campus trips with a stop in Baton
Rouge, one of a number of commitments that will be in town and lend a hand to
the staff as they recruit the uncommitted prospects in attendance.
Tracy Howard also plans to visit LSU in the final two weekends before National Signing Day on Feb. 1, though Howard, a five-star
cornerback prospect out of Miramar, Fla., will be in Gainesville to visit
Florida the weekend he’s not in Baton Rouge. On Jan. 8, Howard told Scout.com’s
Chad Simmons that the Tigers and Gators are his finalists.
Another name to watch is Hutchinson (Kansas) Junior College
wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who could help soften the blow of junior wide receiver Rueben Randle electing to go pro. The Tigers could make a late play with
the 6-foot-4, 202-pound, five-star prospect by landing a visit in the final two
On Sunday, after a trip to Ole Miss, Patterson said this to Scout.com’s Yancy Porter about his final official visit: “I will probably go to LSU.” Besides Ole Miss, Patterson's other officials visits were to Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee
received Patterson’s other official visits.
It should be noted that after being on the staff for less
than a year, LSU quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe was able to convince Kiel
(at least for a time) to buck distance as a concern and commit to the Tigers.
There’s a good chance Kragthorpe will get the Tigers in the
mix for another top quarterback prospect in 2013, especially with a better head
start on the recruiting game – which can get stickiest when grabbing
quarterbacks before all the dominos fall.
Point being, it doesn’t appear the sky is falling in Baton Rouge — in case fans didn’t pick up on that by the Tigers' 13-1 record, SEC title, berth in the BCS Championship Game and a likely top-3 ranking come September.
If Kiel begins classes in South Bend on Tuesday, the Tigers
will fall from No. 8 to No. 9 in the Scout.com team rankings. If Phillips and
Hill get on board in the next week, LSU would slide back into the No. 8 spot.
It’s not foreign territory.
Since 2002, the only time the Tigers have finished outside
the Top 10 in the final Scout.com recruiting rankings was 2005 - when the
program signed just 13 players (with one five-star and eight four-star prospects).
Then again, with three new scholarship offers for the 2013
class handed out by Miles over the weekend, also understand the rat race that
is the recruiting game won’t slow down a bit.