With the announcement, Kelly chose the oft-injured senior over sophomore Tommy Rees.
"Both of those young men had a great battle for that starting position, but Dayne will be our starter," Kelly said. "I expect him to be the starter for 13 weeks."
During his three seasons with the Irish, Crist has been on the shelf with a torn ligament as a sophomore and with a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee last year.
He played In nine games before going down with an injury in 2010, completing 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns, while getting picked off seven times.
After guiding the Irish to a 4-5 record, the team won four straight games with Rees behind center.