A piece of major college football recruiting news broke Thursday afternoon, and even though it happened almost 2,000 miles away, it should give UNLV basketball fans another reason to have hope when it comes to the recruitment of local star Shabazz Muhammad.
Kiel ranks as the No. 19 overall prospect in the 2012 class, according to Rivals.com, but he is the top-ranked quarterback.
"It came down to gut feel and where he felt most comfortable," his father, Kip Kiel, told The Indianapolis Star. "With Alabama there's obviously a lot of tradition. But coach (Kevin) Wilson has done a great job and there's a lot of excitement in Bloomington right now. I think Gunner felt that."
Wilson arrived at Indiana this offseason after working wonders as both an offensive coordinator and developer of quarterbacks (Sam Bradford, Landry Jones) at Oklahoma. There's a family connection, with his older brother, Dusty, set to begin his sophomore season at IU.
As for Muhammad, he is ranked by Rivals as the No. 1 overall prospect from the 2012 senior crop.
While he was putting up 30- and 40-point games in his hometown at the adidas Super 64 AAU tournamnet, both the UNLV coaching staff and its loyal fans were doing everything they could to show him the love.
During the noncontact period between coaches and recruits, first-year Rebels coach Dave Rice and his band of assistants had multiple bodies at each of Muhammad's games this weekend, while fans organized outings via message boards and word of mouth, making their presence — and colors — felt in the stands.
The recruitment of Muhammad and Kiel have similarities beyond the hometown appeal. Like Wilson, Dave Rice has added a splash of excitement since being hired in early April to replace Lon Kruger. His promise of a more up-tempo, high-scoring playing style has the local buzz growing.
UNLV also has a family tie to its top target, as Muhammad's coach at Gorman — Grant Rice — is Dave's younger brother.
Like Kiel should be for Indiana, Muhammad would be a game-changer for UNLV, not only on the floor but also in terms of potential revenue through ticket sales, exposure for the program and success on the recruiting trail. The possible benefits are countless.
UNLV landing Muhammad would be one of the biggest recruiting upsets college basketball has seen in years, though the Rebels have a fair chance in the fight. And Kiel committing to Indiana proves it most certainly is possible.ryan.greene@lasvegas
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Source: Las Vegas Sun