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Notre Dame Football 2012: Big QB Battle Is Brewing With Tommy Rees Suspended For Opener

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is considered good enough to merit a No. 24 overall ranking in the preseason USA Today College Football Top-25 Coaches' Poll, but things are still very much in flux for Brian Kelly's team in 2012. Most importantly, there is an ongoing four-man competition between junior Tommy Rees, freshman Gunner Kiel, junior Andrew Hendrix and sophomore Everett Golson for the starting quarterback job. As noted by Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, Kelly recently explained that the competition is underway and that the job will go to the man he trusts most to avoid turnovers.

Kelly suspended quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese for the team's season-opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland on Sept. 1, so that creates at least one opportunity for Kiel, Hendrix or Golson to unseat the incumbent starter. Although no player in that trio has started a game for the Irish, Lazerus points out in his article that each QB will bring an intriguing set of skills to the table:

Golson has an electric running ability that Kelly craves in a quarterback and was Notre Dame's best passer in the spring game, completing 11 of 15 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Hendrix has a strong arm and solid mobility and acquitted himself well in the second half of the Stanford game last season, leading two touchdown drives after relieving an ineffective Rees.

Kiel, the nation's top quarterback recruit, only saw mop-up duty as an early enrollee in the spring game and is a long shot to win the job. Kelly said that the quarterback who wins the job will be the one he "trusts" the most not to turn the ball over.

For Notre Dame it's not just about which player will win the job on opening day, but whether that QB can seize control of the position for the entire season.

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