The University of Indiana doesn't tend to have a lot to look forward to when it comes to football. The Hoosiers have made just one bowl appearance in the past 18 years (the 2007 Insight Bowl, where Indiana lost to Oklahoma State), and the current Indiana squad sits at 1-4, leaving little prospect of a bowl-worthy resurrection in 2011.
Yet there is something for Hoosiers football fans to look forward to for 2012, when Columbus (Ind.) East High quarterback Gunner Kiehl will arrive on campus. The Indiana commit is a five-star recruit, is the top prospect in the state of Indiana and, according to Rivals.com, is the top pro-style quarterback prospect in the entire country.
Perhaps more importantly, he has all the intangibles and awareness of a potential superstar, as he showed in the play above from his team's 35-21 victory against highly regarded Floyds Knob (Ind.) Floyd Central High.
As you can see in the highlight, Kiehl couldn't handle a quick shotgun snap, which came in too high for him to corral. As the ball tipped off his fingers and slipped to the ground, the passer quickly re-located it and snatched it up.
By the time he did that, Kiehl was already feeling pressure from the Floyd Central defensive line. Incredibly, he was able to keep a cool head and deliver a perfect pass downfield, over the entire Floyd Central defensive secondary and right into the hands of streaking wide receiver Alex Cowan in the end zone.
In terms of poise under pressure, it doesn't come much better than that. Sure, Kiehl's pass was a bit wobbly, but he released it off his back foot, with a Floyd Central defensive lineman grasping at his toes.
Perhaps more impressively, he also had the presence of mind to look downfield before settling for an emergency valve screen, knowing that the Floyd Central defense would struggle to cover everyone downfield if it had blitzed with enough players to get pressure on him so quickly.
It's that type of quick thinking that has helped make Kiehl one of the nation's top-15 overall prospects … and has finally given Indiana fans something to really look forward to for football seasons to come.
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- Floyd Central