It's the most important position to get right every college football season and at LSU this offseason, the quarterbacks will be in a substantial competition between its four options.
The Tigers quarterback room is probably the deepest its ever been and the back and forth should be fierce to watch all the way through the spring. Here's a look at the quarterback room, projected starter and a dive into the depth chart.
Projected Starter: Myles Brennan (senior)
Brennan improved in each of his first three starts with the program during the 2020 season, tossing for 1,112 yards and 11 touchdowns in his only three appearances of the season. As a junior, Brennan also completed nearly 60% of his passes and just looked to get more comfortable as the three games progressed.
Unfortunately, a lower body injury suffered against Missouri forced Brennan to miss the rest of the season but coach Ed Orgeron said that he's been going through all of the offseason workload the last few weeks.
“Yeah, he looks full go right now,” Orgeron said on WWL radio recently. “We're only going through walkthrough right now, but he's in the weight room. He’s doing everything that the team does. He's throwing with the team after when the coaches are not on the field. He looks like he's full speed right now.”
If Brennan is really full strength by the time spring ball kicks off, it makes sense that he earns the first team reps. He's already started meeting with the new offensive staff and has really impressed his new coaches.
"He can move the pocket. He has very good balance. He’s a guy that can sling it well. Really like his lower-half," offensive coordinator Jake Peetz said.
Depth Chart: TJ Finley (sophomore), Max Johnson (sophomore), Garrett Nussmeier (freshman)
What makes the room truly unique is that none of the quarterbacks are the same. Peetz and the offensive staff really like the different qualities that each quarterback presents to the room.
For example, they view Brennan and Finley as two guys who are pure pocket passers with great arms and a little mobility in the pocket. Finley showed flashes of his potential in the spread offense as well, displaying his cannon arm in wins over South Carolina and Arkansas and both are pretty good at manipulating the defense with their eyes, an extremely important quality for a quarterback.
Johnson possesses a lot of the same intricacies in his game but is more mobile and can escape the pocket, using his legs to extend plays down field. It's part of what helped the freshman to lead the Tigers offense to two big wins over Florida and Ole Miss. In those two outings, Johnson tossed for 674 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for an additional 97 yards.
Nussmeier has just been on campus for a little over a month and is a highly talented freshman who will compete for snaps once he fully recovers from a broken bone on his non throwing hand suffered at the end of his senior season. Peetz is fond of his entire quarterback room and is excited to get to work with them.
“I’ll tell you what, we have some exceptional young men, and getting a chance to talk with these guys and getting a chance to talk with most of their parents at this point as well, you can see that it’s by no accident," Peetz said. "When we can draw different things, we can attack defenses in a different way. But it’s been a pleasure to get to know these guys, and I look forward to continuing to grow that.”
Of course with four quarterbacks on the roster, three of whom have gained valuable starting reps, the question is what will happen when one inevitably gets the starting nod over the other three. As a result, expect Orgeron to keep that decision close to the vest for most of the offseason, very much like the four player battle three years ago eventually won by Joe Burrow.
It's very likely that one could elect to transfer but those are decisions that will likely be made after spring ball or potentially into training camp as well.
"All these kids, there’s not a limiting factor to their games saying, well we can’t play this style of football. But whoever the quarterback is, and whenever it is that they play, we’re going to play to their strengths,” Peetz said.