Once top recruit Gunner Kiel to make his first 2016 start against East Carolina

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Quarterback Gunner Kiel, a once highly sought recruit, will make his first start of the 2016 season. (Getty)
Quarterback Gunner Kiel, a once highly sought recruit, will make his first start of the 2016 season. (Getty)

Senior quarterback Gunner Kiel will make his first start of the 2016 season on Saturday when Cincinnati meets East Carolina, coach Tommy Tuberville announced on his radio show Thursday.

Kiel was a two-year starter for the Bearcats in 2014 and 2015, but he suffered a major head injury on Sept. 24 against Memphis and hasn’t been able to consistently regain that starters’ form.

He’s attempted just 11 passes this season and has spent most of the year third on the depth chart behind Hayden Moore and Ross Trail. But the Bearcats are looking for some sort of spark after losing two straight and three of the last four. Cincinnati ranks 105th nationally in scoring offense with just 23 points per game, and the quarterbacks have thrown 10 interceptions to just eight touchdowns.

This is an offense that was one of the nation’s most potent a year ago. It ranked sixth nationally in passing and total offense. It averaged 33.8 points per game.

Perhaps, Tuberville is hoping Kiel, who was once one of the nation’s most sought after quarterbacking recruits, can help rekindle last season’s magic and get the Bearcats back on track for the second half of the year.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!