The Indianapolis Star and multiple websites are reporting Tuesday afternoon that five-star quarterback prospect Gunner Kiel has committed to LSU.
Kiel (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) out of Columbus (Ind.) East chose the Tigers over Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, reopening his recruiting process in October after committing to Indiana in July.
A website called myindianafootball.com appeared to break the story.
“I woke up Friday morning and knew I wanted to be a Tiger,” Kiel told the website. “I can’t wait.”
Kiel is expected to enroll in school in January and participate in spring practice.
Kiel is rated as the nation’s No. 1 quarterback by Scout.com, No. 1 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com and No. 2 overall quarterback by ESPNU. Kiel is No. 16 on the Scout 300, No. 18 on the Rivals 100 and No. 20 on the ESPNU 150.
Named Indiana’s Mr. Football by the Indianapolis Star, Kiel led Columbus East to a 12-2 record in 2011. He threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions, and also ran for 482 yards and 11 TDs.
LSU appeared to pick up ground with Kiel late in the recruiting process. Kiel attended LSU’s regular-season home finale with Arkansas on Nov. 25 as part of an unofficial visit, but then returned early the following week for his official visit.
“The thing about LSU, they’ve been on him from the get go,” Kip Kiel, Gunner’s father, told 247sports.com. He credited his son’s relationship with LSU quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe as being a decisive factor in Gunner’s commitment to the Tigers.
“Obviously I think Gunner had a great relationship with coach Kragthorpe and coach Kragthorpe has a lot of experience, and I think that was the big key for LSU,” Kip Kiel said. “Playing with the top talent in the country around him had something to do with it. He likes the SEC conference and that atmosphere kind of helps too.”
With seniors Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee departing, Kiel joins a backfield that already includes junior-to-be Zach Mettenberger (6-5, 228) and redshirt freshmen Stephen Rivers (6-7, 200) and Jerrard Randall (6-1, 185). Mettenberger, a junior-college transfer, has seen spot duty this season and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Tiger fans will hope that Kiel can one day have the same kind of success as LSU’s last Indiana-born quarterback had. Matt Mauck, a native of Santa Claus, Ind., led the Tigers to the 2003 BCS national championship.
LSU now has 22 commitments for the Class of 2010, but Kiel is the first quarterback to become part of the Tigers’ class. The national signing period begins Feb. 1.