Last-minute change for top QB

Kiel has apparently switched to the Irish

One-time LSU QB commit Gunner Kiel didn't show up for early enrollment in Baton Rouge.

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 Oct. 21.

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 weekends.

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.

As for the drama of the day, the silver lining is that with Zach Mettenberger up to bat, Kiel would likely not have played until 2013 at the earliest. That means the staff has time to both look elsewhere and continue to develop freshmen Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall.

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).

Despite the roughest eight days a fan could image, all is well.

So with 16 days until National Signing Day, the ride is almost over.

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.

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