June 5, 2011

Kiel to make decision soon

For the top high school quarterback in the country, life is anything but normal.

With all of the phone calls, the visits, the camps, the workouts, and the 7-on-7 tournaments, it's easy to see how the recruiting process can be overwhelming at times for the high profile recruits like Columbus, Ind. quarterback Gunner Kiel.

But Kiel, the nation's top signal caller and No. 19 prospect overall, is still trying to live like a typical 17-year-old kid despite everything going on around him.

"I don't let it get to me," Kiel said of recruiting. "I like to spend time with my friends and teammates. I like to interact with them and try to get ready for next season. Recruiting is going to be there, and I'm still thinking about it, but I just try to be a normal kid, too, and do normal things."

That's why Kiel plans to make his college decision sometime this month and get his recruitment behind him. Soon, the phone calls will start to diminish, the questions of where and why will stop being asked, and Kiel will be able to focus on what's important.

But don't expect any big hoopla when the Rivals.com four-star makes his choice.

"Whenever the time is ready to commit, I'm not going to do a big thing," Kiel said. "I'm just going to tell my family, my friends and teammates, and my coaches, and it will get out."

At this point, Kiel won't even reveal his favorite schools, only saying there's a few, but that he wants to keep it personal with his family.

It's no secret, however, that the University of Alabama is one of his top choices.

"They're definitely known for winning football games," Kiel said. "With 13 national championships, that's awesome. Whenever you go down there, you're going to get great players and you're going to win football games, which is something I always want to do because I'm a strong competitor and want to win.

"They have a strong tradition of winning. Coach (Nick) Saban definitely stresses that a lot with his team, and I can see that."

Kiel and his family visited UA's campus last month, where they toured the academic buildings and met with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore. It was the third time Kiel had been to Tuscaloosa, and every time, he's come away impressed.

"Every single time you go down there is awesome," Kiel said. "You go to some places and you get some arrogant people, but with (Alabama) you always get a smile and a warm welcome. The campus is beautiful. Everything about it is great. It's an awesome place."

There was a rumor that Kiel was coming back to UA this week for the Crimson Tide's camp, but with 7-on-7 tournaments back-to-back weekends, he won't be able to make it.

"To be honest, right now I'm just spending time with my team," Kiel said. "I have no idea what the future holds. I haven't really made up my mind about camps, but I'm going to put my team ahead of me any day.

"I have one more year left. I don't want them to think that I have a big head and that I'm cocky. I'm still going to be a team player."

That's the type of attitude that has garnered the respect of his teammates at Columbus East High School and helped him become the player he is today.

Full Q&A with Gunner Kiel coming tomorrow on TideSports.com.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.




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