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Columbus (Ind.) East quarterback Gunner Kiel, the nation's No. 1 signal-caller, might have shocked many with his decision today to go to Indiana over offers from national powers like Alabama, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others. However, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder doesn't see this as a recruiting upset. He sees it as a chance to stay home and build something.
"Indiana is a great place, they have great academics also and I think they are going to be a great football team," said Kiel. "People always think of basketball of course when they think of Indiana but coach Wilson is a great coach and he brings a lot to the table. He's very competitive and he's going to get the job done. He's developed some great quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and many others and they will be strong contenders."
Kiel also chose Indiana over the likes of the Sooners, Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish because of family.
"I have family over there and at first playing with my brother (Dusty Kiel and competing with him at quarterback was a drawback, I couldn't see myself doing that," he said. "But he said 'c'mon man, it won't be like that' and that he wanted me there, he convinced me that it wouldn't be an issue which was great to hear. I know he's going to have my back at all times being there and the place has a great family atmosphere, I already know most of the players there and I have a strong instinct that they will get the job done. My other brother Drew will be going to Ivy Tech in Bloomington so it will be pretty sweet for all of us to be there."
In the end it came down to some factors for Kiel that were important to him.
"First it was academics, being around people who are going to make me better and successful was two and then it came down to family," he said. "It was a great fit. The guys at IU have a chip on their shoulders because they have been down in football so long and they feel they will get it done."
Kiel wasn't always set on Indiana.
"Back in June I was thinking about going out of state because playing with my brother was always a negative in my mind. That's his time and his school and I wasn't going to mess with it," he said. "I was all set to leave but he really showed me it wouldn't be a factor and that we can push each other and having him there is going to make things a lot easier for me. I'll learn the playbook and offense easier and have someone to show me around. I'm not going there to take away anything from him, we will just make each other better and support each other completely. Like I said, at first it was a negative but not it's a positive."
Kiel will do some recruiting for Indiana as well.
"The coaches haven't asked me to do that because coach Wilson is a great recruiter and he knows he can get kids," he said. "But I'll do my part of course and talk to kids and try to convince them of what I believe which is that Indiana football has a chance to be great and they have a great coaching staff that will raise hell and get the job done. I believe in it and I will get others to believe in it to the best of my ability."
Does Kiel consider this a recruiting upset like many others do?
"To be honest with you, I'm trying to figure out why people are making it out to be such a big deal," he said. "It's just me going to school. I don't think I'm a special kid who has special powers or anything, I don't think like that at all. I'm a competitive kid who loves to play football and it gets that monkey off my back that the decision is made. They can make a big deal out of it if they want but I'm just super excited that I know where I'm going."