Notre Dame Football: Bart Houston

Quarterback Gunner Kiel is on the move again, opting to transfer from Notre Dame after redshirting last season.

Kiel's travails are well documented. The Columbus, Ind., native, rated by RecruitingNation as the No. 3 quarterback in the 2012 recruiting class, originally committed to Indiana in July 2011, a major surprise at the time. He reopened his recruitment that fall, verbally committed to LSU but soon had second thoughts and enrolled at Notre Dame, prompting Les Miles to question his leadership abilities.

[+] EnlargeGunner Kiel
Matt Cashore/US PresswireA number of Big Ten teams could be interested in a strong-armed QB like Gunner Kiel.
IrishIllustrated.com on Thursday reported four potential transfer destinations for Kiel: Ball State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois and Cincinnati. Anyone else surprised not to see a Big Ten team listed?

Kiel certainly is looking for immediate playing time, and he would have a better chance to find it by dropping down to the MAC or the Big East. He found himself behind several quarterbacks on Notre Dame's depth chart, including starter Everett Golson. Kiel talked in January about the need to be patient and wait his turn, but few seem surprised by his decision to transfer.

Although Kiel brings baggage and the potential for drama, he also brings talent. Almost every Big Ten team pursued Kiel during his initial recruitment, and several squads could use him on their roster. He can play in both a pro-style offense and a spread. While he's a good athlete, his arm strength really stands out.

It will be interesting to see if Notre Dame blocks Kiel from transferring to future Irish opponents like Purdue and Michigan State. If not, Purdue in particular might be a good landing spot as the Boilers have an unsettled situation at quarterback. Michigan State also is looking for answers under center and loses Andrew Maxwell following the 2013 season, which Kiel will sit out. The Spartans bring in heralded quarterback recruit Damion Terry this summer, and Connor Cook and Tyler O'Connor also are in the mix.

What about Iowa? The Hawkeyes don't know what they have in Jake Rudock, who couldn't get on the field last fall despite James Vandenberg's struggles. Much like Purdue, Iowa's quarterback situation is a big mystery.

Minnesota hopes Philip Nelson is its quarterback of the future, and Nelson very well could turn out to be. The Gophers also signed two quarterbacks, Chris Streveler and Donovahn Jones, in February, but do any of their signal-callers have as much potential as Kiel?

Illinois loses veteran Nathan Scheelhaase after the 2013 season. Although Reilly O'Toole has shown flashes and the team signed four-star prospect Aaron Bailey in February, there are no guarantees at quarterback for 2014 and beyond.

Wisconsin undoubtedly will be brought up as a possible landing spot, given the team's recent history with transfers. But the Badgers also have a redshirt sophomore (Joel Stave), a highly touted redshirt freshman (Bart Houston) and an incoming junior-college player with three years of eligibility left (Tanner McEvoy) in the mix at quarterback. I'd be surprised if Wisconsin pursues Kiel.

One team we can likely eliminate is Indiana. The Hoosiers are set at quarterback for the foreseeable future. Plus, they've already been down this road before.

There's risk involved given Kiel's track record, and almost every Big Ten team thinks it has the next great quarterback poised to take over. But the league isn't exactly stacked with high-ceiling quarterbacks. Kiel is from Big Ten country and needs a landing spot. Some Big Ten teams might want to roll the dice.
Russell Wilson's success at Wisconsin this season after transferring from NC State has caught the eye of other players looking for new destinations.

[+] EnlargeCrist
AP Photo/Michael ConroyCould QB Dayne Crist go from playing at Notre Dame to leading the Wisconsin Badgers?
"Because of the success of Russell Wilson," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said last week in Indianapolis, "I've been contacted by almost 10 players who want to talk about the opportunity to transfer in to the University of Wisconsin."

One of those players is quarterback Dayne Crist, who recently asked for an received his release from Notre Dame. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier this week that sources say Crist is very interested in Wisconsin as a transfer destination. He has one year of eligibility remaining, and because he's set to graduate this month, he could play in 2012. It was the same situation with Wilson, who completed his undergraduate requirements at NC State and could play immediately for Wisconsin.

Crist started the past two season openers for Notre Dame but had his struggles and some bad luck in South Bend. He tore the ACL in his right knee during his sophomore season in 2009 and ruptured the patella tendon in his left knee in late October of last season. Crist won the starting job entering this fall but was benched at halftime of the season opener against South Florida. Tommy Rees has been the Irish starting quarterback ever since.

ESPN.com has learned Crist had Wisconsin on his radar screen soon after the benching against South Florida.

Crist came to Notre Dame as a decorated recruit set to play in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense. He had to adjust to Brian Kelly's scheme after Weis was fired.

Wisconsin makes sense for Crist, who could be a good fit in the Badgers' pro-style system.

The bigger question: Should Wisconsin add a one-year transfer quarterback for the second consecutive season?

Given the uncertainty at the QB position, the answer is yes. Wisconsin doesn't want to get in the habit of doing this every year, but there are major question marks with the Badgers signal callers after Wilson departs. Jon Budmayr, the projected starter coming out of spring practice, hasn't played all season because of nerve problems in his throwing elbow. It's a tricky injury, particularly for a quarterback. Curt Phillips, meanwhile, hasn't played since 2009 because of a series of serious knee injuries.

Reserves Joel Stave and Joe Brennan are in the mix, and highly touted recruit Bart Houston arrives next season. But none of the Badgers' quarterbacks has as much experience as Crist.

While it's unrealistic to expect another transfer quarterback to duplicate Wilson's success this season, Wisconsin can't close the door to any options. The team should have a more stable quarterback situation in 2013 than 2012, so another one-year QB might be a smart choice.

What do you think?

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