Kelly made the announcement Tuesday, choosing Crist ahead of Tommy Rees.
"Both of those young men had a great battle for that starting position, but Dayne will be our starter," said Kelly. "I expect him to be the starter for 13 weeks."
Crist has had his share of injury woes during three seasons at Notre Dame. He didn't play as a freshman in 2008, then tore a knee ligament in 2009 and last October against Tulsa suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee.
In nine games last season, Crist completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Irish were 4-5 after the Tulsa contest, which Rees finished, then won four straight games with the freshman at the helm.
Rees played nine games last season and connected on 61 percent of his throws for 1,106 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions.