December 27, 2011

Columbus (Ind.) East five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel committed to LSU on Tuesday.

"I can't wait to play in the SEC," Kiel said. "A lot of people call it the NFL of college football and it will be an exciting time. It would mean a lot to be a starting quarterback in such a great conference at a great school. I really love the players and the coaching staff. They were all great to me on my visit and seemed very welcoming."

The nation's top-ranked pro-style passer and No. 12 recruit overall, Kiel becomes the 22nd commit for the Tigers program, and the 10th ranked inside the Top247.

The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Kiel chose LSU over Notre Dame and Vanderbilt and will begin classes as an early enrollee this semester. Arkansas, Purdue and USC also received late consideration.

"Just a gut feeling," Kip Kiel, Gunner's father, told 247Sports of his son's decision on Tuesday. "The thing about LSU, they've been consistently on him from the get go, and it was a gut feeling that he had."

"Obviously I think Gunner had a great relationship with (LSU quarterbacks) Coach (Steve) Kragthorpe and Coach Kragthorpe has a lot of experience, and I think that was the big key for LSU," he added. "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."

As a senior, Kiel earned Indiana Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year honors after passing for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He led Columbus East to the Class 4A semifinals, also rushing for 427 yards and 12 more scores. He will cap his prep career as a U.S. Army All-American on Jan. 7.

Kiel originally committed to Indiana before the start of the season, where his older brother, Dusty, is a quarterback with the Hoosiers. Kiel decommitted from the program on Oct. 21 and visited LSU, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt twice before coming to a final decision. He was in Baton Rouge for the Arkansas game and returned for a Tigers bowl practice.

"All of the players were great to me on my visit," Kiel said. "I enjoyed talking with Coach Miles and everyone down there. Baton Rouge is a special place and can't wait to be a part of it."

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