With three months until kickoff for the 2018 season, the LSU quarterback controversy is in full effect with a wide open competition between four players.
Since 2000, seven LSU quarterbacks have been selected in the NFL draft, the highest being JaMarcus Russell at No. 1 overall in 2007. The others were all taken later in the draft, usually in the sixth or seventh round.
Sophomore Myles Brennan came to school last year, hoping to put the QB doubts to rest right out of the gate. The four-star prospect was known for his pocket passing in high school, with accuracy being at the forefront of his game.
Brennan broke many Mississippi records with his play in high school, including 15,138 passing yards, 166 touchdowns and total offense at 16,168.
LSU fans were chomping at the bit to see Brennan in action and finally got their wish against Syracuse on Sept. 23. Brennan went 4-of-6 for 75 yards and an interception before being replaced by starter Danny Etling, who guided LSU to a 35-26 victory.
Brennan was called on again the following week against Troy. Trailing 10-0 at halftime, coach Ed Orgeron went with Brennan in the second half. Brennan went 4-of-7 for 68 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The freshman would be replaced by Etling in the fourth, and LSU would come up short in the comeback effort, losing 24-21.
Brennan would play sparingly after the Troy game, finishing the season completing 14-of-24 passes for 182, a touchdown and two picks.
The two other returning quarterbacks, freshman Lowell Narcisse and junior Justin McMillan, come into fall 2018 with a lot to prove, as McMillan is the only one that has seen playing time, completing one pass in 2016 for 19 yards.
Then there’s new transfer quarterback from Ohio State, junior Joe Burrow. Burrow spent three years as the backup quarterback at Ohio State, accumulating 287 yards passing and two touchdowns in garbage time play.
In high school, Burrow was the eighth rated dual threat prospect, throwing for 11,416 yards and 157 touchdowns in three years, including an insane senior year of 63 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
Orgeron insists that Burrow will compete with the other three for the starting job and won’t come in with any handouts.
“We told him there’s an opportunity here,” Orgeron said in May. “I think the bottom line is he chose to compete at the highest level.”
Burrow wasn’t in purple and gold for the Spring Game this past April, giving Brennan, Narcisse and McMillan the head start in impressing the coaching staff.
All three struggled to some degree, with Brennan going 11-for-21 for 125 yards, one touchdown and one pick, Narcisse going 6-of-13 for 205 yards and a touchdown, and McMillan going 13-of-27 for 182 yards passing and 69 additional rushing yards with two touchdowns.
Orgeron gave McMillan the highest praise from after the game but mentioned Brennan and Narcisse as guys that have shown promise in practices.
“He’s [Justin] playing with more confidence than the other quarterbacks, and I think that shows,” Orgeron said. “It’s what he’s been doing. The other guys have had other practices. I don’t think this was Myles’ or Lowell’s best practice. It’s been up and down the whole season.”
With four quarterbacks competing for one slot, it’s believed that one of the returning three quarterbacks will transfer from LSU. However, anything is possible.
There is never a dull year when it comes to LSU and its quarterbacks, so at this point all that can be done is wait with anticipation for what should be a competitive fall camp.