surprising choice of Indiana University was a very intelligent decision, according to MaxPreps/CBS recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
"It was a smart move," Lemming believes. "All the good programs at the other schools have someone there who could beat you out.
"It's not that shocking. His brother (Dusty) is there. Kevin Wilson (new head football coach) is an excellent recruiter. His family lives in Columbus (Ind.), just a short drive to Bloomington.
"Kevin Wilson told him he is going to build the program around his talents - rather than going to Oklahoma or Alabama where he would have to fight for a job and fit into their system. At Indiana it (the starting quarterback position as a freshman) is going to be handed to him."
Lemming took part in an Alabama radio program on Thursday.
"Alabama people are shocked that he didn't go to Alabama," he noted.
Lemming ranks Kiel, from Columbus East (Columbus, Ind.)
, the No. 1 quarterback and No. 2 overall player
in the nation.
"I go back 40 years and Indiana never has gotten a guy ranked this high – ever," Lemming emphasized. He pointed to the landing of running back Anthony Thompson as the Hoosiers' previous big catch.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder passed for 2,645 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior at East (Columbus, Ind.). The nephew of former Notre Dame quarterback Blair Kiel, he also ran for seven additional touchdowns.
Kiel, who appears to be in the class of former Indiana standout signal callers such as Jeff George and Rick Mirer, said he will enroll at Indiana in January.
The pressure already is on him because Indiana finished last in the Big Ten Conference a year ago and has not been to a bowl game since 2007.
"Anytime you go to a program that's been down for many years, there's going to be pressure on you," Lemming acknowledged. "The only question is if Indiana will build up around him.
"Part of that falls on Gunner. He's got to get on the phone now and call receivers and linemen. Other schools have those (complementary) players in place. The jury is still out."
Kiel told Rivals Radio on Thursday that he plans to recruit blue chip recruits heavily into the program.
"They better watch out because I'm coming after them," he said.
The combination of playing with his brother and for Wilson was too hard to pass up, he said.
"Playing (with Dusty) played a huge part and coach Wilson brings a lot to the table," Kiel said. "He's very intense and his resume speaks for itself. He's developed some great quarterbacks, including Sam Bradford. That got me excited.
"(Wilson) said Indiana football isn't noticed around the nation. Everyone thinks its a losing team. He brings a bunch of intensity to the team and has given them hope and let them know they have the talent, but now they have to put in the hard work."
Kiel was also attracted to the Hoosiers because of recent renovations to the football facility. "It's pretty unreal," he said. "Look at Indiana and they now have everything Alabama and Oklahoma have. Their weight room is enormous. … It's pretty awesome."
Unlike many elite recruits who deplore the recruiting process, Kiel said he tried to cherish it. That's the advice he got from his older siblings.
"My family just told me to have fun with it," he said. "It doesn't happen often. They told me to just make the most of it. I just thanked God everyday for giving me the talent and having great people around to help me through it. I wouldn't be who I am without great family and friends around me."
Kiel told Dusty his decision after returning from the Elite 11 camp in Southern California last week.
"He picked me up from the airport and I told him I had some good news," Gunner said. "I told him I was going to IU. He said I made his day. He was pumped."
The Kiel family has been compared to the Manning family in both ability and support, a fact the seems to humble Gunner.
"Having a family that loves football and knows the position made me a better person and player," he said. "We're very competitive and love to compete. My brothers have been great role models for me and the best friends I could ever ask for. I look up the them and try to be just like them."
It will be interesting when they compete for the starting quarterback job.Senior writer Mitch Stephens contributed to this report.