(MCT) CHICAGO — Gunner is gone.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly officially confirmed Tuesday what had been expected for nearly two weeks: Gunner Kiel, the former No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation, has left the program and will transfer.
"He is no longer part of the program," Kelly said during a news conference.
On March 7, reports emerged from multiple outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, that Kiel would seek a transfer after spending his freshman season buried on the depth chart _ and with a sophomore, Everett Golson, seizing the starting job for the future.
Some reports indicated Notre Dame wanted Kiel to mull the decision over spring break to see if he had a change of heart. But Kiel did not show up for Monday morning workouts after break, sources close to the team told the Tribune, making his departure all but a foregone conclusion.
And Kelly erased all doubt Tuesday, as he began discussing the opening of spring practice on Wednesday. Kelly said the release process for Kiel was finalized Friday, and the schools Kiel is considering "were in line with the schools that were appropriate, relative to who was on our schedule."
Asked later for details of that list, Kelly said it included a "number of nationally regarded" programs.
"Too many to get into," Kelly said.
Kiel is expected to finish out the semester at Notre Dame to keep his academics in order for the transfer, but his short-lived football era in South Bend is over.
"I don't know that I'm surprised _ we had kind of created an opportunity for him to compete in the spring," Kelly said. "So maybe a little surprised from that standpoint, because he was actually told he'd be given the opportunity to compete. Sometimes when you don't hear that, you wouldn't be surprised."