For even the most passive college football recruiting followers, the name “Gunner Kiel” is one which just about every fan is familiar with. The top high school quarterback in the class of 2012 made headlines all fall long, as a one-time Indiana commit, turned one-time LSU commit, turned Notre Dame enrollee, who- in the process- left a trail of broken hearts and angry message board threads at every stop along the college football recruiting trail.
In the end, essentially two camps emerged on Kiel.
Some (like my colleague Michael Felder) took the stance that every high school kid has the right to change their minds as many times as they please, and that no fan has the right to criticize. After all, do you remember what you were like when you were 17? Others felt the opposite: Why commit, if you’re not totally sure what you want? Why not just wait before going public?
Regardless, once the ink went dry on Kiel’s Letter of Intent yesterday, it seemed like the Gunner Kiel saga was officially over.
Not so fast my friend. Because while most everyone was moved on from the Kiel-drama of the past few months, one prominent member of the college football community wasn’t quite ready to drop the subject.
That man? Les Miles.
As you may remember, the Hatter was one of the coaches most prominently spurned by Kiel, after the quarterback committed to LSU right before the New Year (he had also been previously committed to Indiana in the fall). Of course Kiel had second thoughts (or were they third thoughts?) while he was literally packing his bags to head to Louisiana, and on the day he was supposed to arrive in Baton Rouge, chose instead to stay close to home and attend Notre Dame.
Well apparently Miles hasn’t forgotten, and he let the college football world know about it at LSU’s Signing Day event on Wednesday.
The linked video says it all, but for those of you who can’t listen, here are Miles’ most cryptic comments:
“We needed a quarterback in this class. There was a gentleman from Indiana that thought about coming to the Bayou State, he did not necessarily have the chest, and the ability to lead a program.”
Well then. Tell us how you really feel Coach Miles.
In all seriousness though, it’s kind of hard to delineate who is right and wrong in this situation.
On the surface, there is no reason for a head coach- a grown man and supposed leader- to call out an 18-year-old for flip-flopping on a college decision. As I mentioned before, we were all high school seniors once, and when I was that age I couldn’t even decide what toppings I wanted on my Subway sub, let alone where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. And it’s safe to say that I didn’t have nearly as many folks interested in my decision as young Mr. Kiel did. Or any at all for that matter.
At the same time, I’m not nearly as upset at Miles’ comments as some.
The truth is that I have absolutely, positively no problem with indecision. Quite the opposite actually. I think a kid should take as long as he needs to make his college decision. If he knows where he wants to go in his sophomore year, good for him; if he needs until after Signing Day to make his final choice, so be it. Again, this is one of the most important decisions any of us will ever have to make, and no stone should be left unturned.
I guess my question then becomes this: If you’re not sure where you want to really go to school- I mean really sure- why commit anywhere at all? Why not take the extra couple weeks if that’s what you need? Again, that’s perfectly fine. What’s not however is looking a man in the eye, giving him your word and then backing out.
And while in the macro, Miles has no reason to be any more or less upset the whole situation than Indiana’s Kevin Wilson, in the micro world of college football recruiting, he kinda, sorta has a point.
Remember, it’s one thing to have a change of heart early in the fall (when there’s time to look into contingency plans), and quite another to do it just weeks before Signing Day, and to do it on the day that you’re supposed to show up at campus. Don’t forget that- according to reports- Kiel never actually bothered to tell LSU’s coaching staff of his change of plans. On the same day that Kiel started classes at Notre Dame, the Tigers staff was still anticipating his arrival in Baton Rouge.
In the end, there’s a whole lot of right and wrong to spread around in this Gunner Kiel mess. You can definitely blame the coach for acting immature in this specific instance. But you can also blame the kid for giving the coach a reason to be so upset.
Regardless, let’s all hope that this is the final chapter of The Kiel-Drama of 2012.
I for one am ready for spring ball, and ready to see if the kid is actually worth all the hype.
College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!
|Best of Yardbarker||NFL News||MLB News||NBA News||NHL News|
Today's Best Stuff