Everett Golson's Departure Opens Door for Tommy Rees, While Gunner Kiel Shoots Down Speculation He'll Return

Gunner Kiel Notre Dame

Everett Golson’s sudden departure from Notre Dame sent shockwaves through the college football world late last night. The redshirt freshman led the Fighting Irish to the BCS title game last season and figured to be an integral component in any quest to repeat such success. Who will Brian Kelly call on now to take Golson’s place under center?

The top candidate would seem to be Tommy Rees, who admirably filled in for Golson last season and has amassed 4,443 passing yards and 34 touchdowns in his career. However, Rees’ habit of turning the ball over — especially in the red zone — engendered a lot of angst for Irish fans and Kelly alike. He’ll also have to be on his best behavior.

This would leave junior Andrew Hendrix, who provides more of a dual threat than Rees, as the backup.

The wildcard here is Gunner Kiel. The five-star recruit announced his transfer to Cincinnati last month. It was the latest episode of  a saga that’s connected him with no less than four schools.

NCAA bylaw aficionado John Infante wrote last night that Kiel could actually return to Notre Dame without having to sit out a season thanks to good old Bylaw

The student transfers to a second four-year collegiate institution, does not compete at the second institution and does not engage in other countable athletically related activities in the involved sport at the second institution beyond a 14-consecutive-day period and returns to the original institution. The 14-consecutive-day period begins with the date on which the student-athlete first engages in any countable athletically related activity (see Bylaw 17.02.1). A student may use this exception even if he or she has an unfulfilled residence requirement at the institution from which he or she is transferring.

Got all that?

Update: In a text message to the Cincinnati Enquirer this morning, Kiel said simply, “I’m a Bearcat.” His coach, Tommy Tuberville, expects him to remain one. Kiel, however, has a long track record of indecision.

It’s fair to say Notre Dame has not had the best offseason. There was Manti Te’o not-so-real dead girlfriend, Kelly’s open flirtation with the NFL, and now this. The Irish are widely regarded as a top-10 team in preseason polls. It will be interesting to see just how far their stock falls.

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