Returning LSU quarterback Myles Brennan will be trying to win the starting job before the Tigers’ first game on September 2 against the University of Miami. Brennan, a sophomore, did appear in six games for LSU last season, completing 14 of 24 passes for 182 yards. (Photo courtesy of LSU Sports)
Whom will it be?
BATON ROUGE -- With fall camp starting tomorrow, the LSU Tigers will have to fill several key positions.
But, probably the biggest and most anticipated position yet to be tabbed is that of quarterback.
Heading into camp, there were five players listed as a signal caller on the depth chart, but realistically only four have a chance at being named the starter come September 2 when LSU takes on Miami in the Advocare Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The name that everyone has had on their lips ever since he transferred this past May is Joe Burrow. The one time Ohio State backup has made things quite interesting despite not having taken a snap during spring training.
Even though Burrow never started at Ohio State under Urban Meyer, he did play in 11 games, thus making him the quarterback with the most experience on the LSU roster.
In his time with the Buckeyes, Burrow completed 29 of 39 passes for 287 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The dual-threat quarterback added 15 rushes for 53 yards.
The upside to Burrow is his size. He is listed at 6’3” and 214 pounds, making him ideal as a prototypical major college quarterback. Being the son of a coach, Burrow is also said to have an amazing football I.Q.
Two factors go against Burrow being the starter. First, he does not have the reps against higher level competition. Secondly, Burrow will have a disadvantage in trying to learn the offensive scheme being brought in by newly tabbed offensive coordinator Steven Ensminger, as he was not there in the spring.
Before Burrow even settled on Baton Rouge as his new place of residence, most of the Tiger faithful thought that the next quarterback in line to be the starter was sophomore Myles Brennan. One of the highest rated quarterbacks of the past decade to sign with the Tigers, Brennan had the most experience of any returner on the roster.
Last season, Brennan played in six games with 14 completions on 24 attempts for 182 yards and a touchdown. Most of his time on the field came in non-conference games, but he did play sparingly against Alabama.
One big concern, besides his lack of starts against the elite schools of the SEC, is his size. Brennan may be 6’4”, but he only weighed 193 pounds last year. He must bulk up some more in order to take the week-to-week bruising that comes with playing quarterback in the most elite conference in the country.
However, Brennan has a powerful arm and has the natural talent to make him the starter for the season. Brennan has the experience in Ensminger’s system and is a product of the spread offense ever since his high school playing days.
Also making a case for himself will be the most veteran quarterback on the LSU roster coming out of spring training, Justin McMillan. The junior from Cedar Hills, Texas is in his fourth year as a Tiger, having red-shirted his freshman season.
McMillan has not played very much since joining LSU, making his first appearance as a Tiger against Jacksonville State in 2016. Last year, McMillan made his only appearance of the season against Auburn when he had one rush attempt.
The respected and talented quarterback got the most time in the spring game, completing 14 of 29 passing for 216 yards and one touchdown. McMillan is a dual-threat at the quarterback position and proved to be the least mistake prone during the spring game.
If McMillan would happen to beat out all other quarterbacks to become the starter, LSU would seem to have a steady, calming presence in the huddle that is needed, considering that the entire Tiger backfield will be brand new. The problem for McMillan is that he will have to beat out the more talented players ahead of him.
Probably the most interesting prospect in the stable of Tiger quarterbacks is St. James High School product Lowell Narcisse. The red-shirt freshman, was rated as No. 249 overall by 247Sports, the No. 9 dual-threat QB, and the 10th-best prospect in Louisiana coming out of high school, despite missing all of his senior season with a knee injury suffered in the jamboree.
Narcisse is one of the best athletes at LSU and one of the fastest at any position on offense. Narcisse has a rocket for an arm and is big enough (231 pounds) to make him a threat to run the ball at the quarterback position.
Nevertheless, Narcisse has not played in a game that matters since 2015. This past spring game, the heralded prospect was a woeful 6 for 13. His accuracy has been called into question simply because he has not really thrown a pass in a live situation for a while.
If Narcisse can learn to tame the arm and bring his instincts back to what it was in high school, the young signal caller may have an outside shot at being the man come the first game of the season. Until that happens, Narcisse will more than likely have to wait behind Burrow and Brennan for his chance.
The final quarterback on the LSU roster is Tennessee Tech transfer Andre Sale. The sophomore from Little Rock, Ark., is originally from Baton Rouge and was around for spring training after walking on in January.
Sale, a 6-2, 210-pounder, has two years of eligibility remaining but is ineligible in 2018 because of his transfer. Sale comes from a family of Tigers. His parents and sister are LSU graduates.
Sale started seven games this past season at Tennessee Tech before being replaced in November. He completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 217 yards a game, with 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. With his ineligible status for the year, Sale will have to sit out and get his chance next season.
As it stands right now, the growing bet is that either Burrow or Brennan will be the guy come game day against the Hurricanes, with McMillan a huge outside threat to the starting role. The person that will eventually get the nod will be the one that can prove to be the most efficient, especially in Ensminger’s pass-to-run scheme, and can tamp down on the mistakes.
Most pundits believe it is Burrow’s job to lose, if he can somehow get a good grip on the offensive playbook. But, if none of the quarterbacks on the roster prove themselves worthy coming out of fall camp, Tiger fans may see something they will more than likely cringe at; a platoon system utilizing two quarterbacks.
Despite who takes over the job for LSU, the chances of the Tigers losing one of their top four candidates after the 2018 season is very high.