COLUMN: Kiel already seems a little different

LSU's newest 5-star QB recruit is lower-key that others before him

What I know about Gunner Kiel at this point is based solely on some high school stats, a few quotes and snippets of opinion from national evaluators.

I throw that out as background because I'm one of those people who has to talk to somebody for a while before I truly form an opinion of how I feel about them.

What I can surmise so far, though, is that Kiel has followed a path different from three of his high-profile quarterback predecessors who have donned the LSU uniform since I've been around.

There doesn't seem to be a big likelihood of Kiel tromping around Baton Rouge with an entourage clad with gaudy bling, a la JaMarcus Russell.

I don't envision Kiel showing up on campus and declaring that the current Tigers QBs are on notice that he intends to start from day one and win the Heisman Trophy like Ryan Perrilloux did.

And for as much hype as surrounded Russell Shepard before he got to town, to be as diplomatic as possible, there's been a lot more talk than production from No. 10 – which could change, of course with one more season to go.

Instead of all the flash and glitter, the early signals from Kiel are that he'll come to LSU with his head down and ready to work. More Matt Flynn or Matt Mauck. More blue collar than bright lights.

In other words, Kiel seems like he'll be perhaps exactly what the Tigers will need after what figures to be another potentially dramatic ride when Zach Mettenberger takes the reins.

That's not a dire prediction of what Mettenberger might do. It's just a hint of what is likely to be an offseason – and perhaps season – full of questions and stories about his off-the-field miscues that led him from Georgia to LSU.

Mettenberger obviously didn't take the traditional path to Baton Rouge, so every time he does something good or bad, you can count on the national media latching onto his story and regurgitating it over and over.

Which brings us back to Kiel, or for that matter, Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall – neither of whom I expect will stop competing just because a five-star recruit shows up.

Kiel could come in and push Mettenberger hard enough to take the starting job next season. For all we know, the strong-armed Hoosier State native could be the next Tommy Hodson and latch onto the gig for four years.

Assuming that's not the case, 2013 or '14 seems to be a more realistic time frame for him to step in and lead the offense that could ostensibly be on a two-year national championship run at best and at worst be in position to continue battling for college football's biggest prize.

Think for a second how refreshing it could be by then if Kiel is the starter, or even if it's a two-QB scheme with Randall, and there's no controversy, no hand-wringing, no look-at-me personalities.

For the first time in recent memory, the LSU quarterback spot is in very good hands it seems and for years to come.

Not only physically and mechanically, but emotionally and personality-wise.

From all indications, Kiel is more old-school than new age and is focused on coming to LSU, playing football as well as he can and contributing any way he can toward the high-level success the Tigers and their fans have gotten so accustomed to.

Gotta say, that's refreshing to be able to say – even before we all get to know the kid.

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