Quarterback Gunner Kiel is leaving Notre Dame without ever playing a down.
"Yeah, he is no longer part of our program," Kelly declared at his Tuesday press conference before the start of spring practice.
Kelly says the former standout from Columbus, Ind., who was one of the top-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school a year ago, plans to transfer. He was the scout team quarterback his freshman season as the Irish went 12-1 and finished the season ranked No. 4.
Kiel was not listed on Notre Dame's spring roster. The Irish begin practices on Wednesday.
Kelly says Kiel was told he would be given a chance to compete for the starting job. 2012 starting quarterback Everett Golson has three years of eligibility left.
As a senior at Columbus East High School, he passed for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns. Kiel originally announced he planned to play for Indiana, then said he would attend LSU before enrolling at Notre Dame.
Kelly says Kiel is receiving looks from both national and regional schools, too numerous for Kelly to name.
"We had an open conversation about the schools, and the schools he was looking at were in line with the schools I thought were appropriate, you know, relative to who was on our schedule," Kelly said.
"You don’t bring guys in expecting them to transfer. There is always a sense from my end, that he would have given it an opportunity, but kids make decisions based on what are important factors to them and, and uh, Gunner and his family felt like it was best for him to pursue other opportunities."
Kiel is believed to be still enrolled in school for the spring semester, Kelly says, in order to preserve his eligibility.