In what has become an annual ritual in the Les Miles era, LSU fans are looking forward to next season wondering who will take over at the quarterback position, to lift the offense.
Some are looking for answers with former LSU and current Florida commit Feliepe Franks. LSU coaches are stil working on bringing Franks back into the fold, but the odds are against a true freshman QB starting so this is more a move with the future in mind.
Tigers coaches still have current starter Brandon Harris along with former starter Anthony Jennings and backup Justin McMillan on the depth chart.
If you are looking to replace Harris, Jennings and McMillan are downgrades. Both are lower tier recruits who are athletic but lacking in arm strength.
The QB prospect that has a lot of LSU fans drooling right now isn’t a recruit like Franks or returning starter like Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings. The real buzz is around transfer Danny Etling.
Sep 28, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Danny Etling (5) passes the ball against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Ross Ade Stadium. Northern Illinois won 55-24. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Etling was a 2013 recruit at Purdue who was inserted into the starting lineup during his freshman season. He played well enough to keep the starters role for the entire year and into 2014.
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With the Boilermakers offense struggling in 2014, Etling was benched after 5 games. The resulting quarterback carousel did nothing to fix one of the worst lines in the country, but Etling was still buried on the depth chart and requested leave to transfer last summer.
Etling made his way to LSU, where he had to sit out a year.
He is a graduate of the same Indiana high school (Terre Haute South Vigo County High School) as Cam Cameron, and the two are reputedly close. He is also very talented and put up numbers very close to what Brandon Harris has had with less talent around him.
Danny Etling through 13 career starts
Brandon Harris through 12 career starts
As you can see the numbers are fairly similar in most categories, although it bears repeating that Brandon Harris had much better talent surrounding him at LSU.
Etling also passes the eye test. He was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school and he looks the part. He is big and athletic and has a strong arm.
Etling is an intriguing prospect, and you can definitely expect a major QB battle next spring as he seeks to replace 2015 starter Brandon Harris. He may have an insurmountable hurdle in front of him though—the 2016 version of Brandon Harris.
Harris struggled tremendously at times in 2015, that much is true.
It should not be forgotten that he was a first year starter with a lot of room to grow and improve. Consider the improvement Zach Mettenberger was able to build between his first and second year as a starter under Cam Cameron.
In making the leap from first to second season as starter, Mettenberger was able to improve dramatically in every meaningful category. He was much more efficient and much more effective.
If Brandon Harris can manage a similar across-the-board improvement, he may prove impossible to beat in a quarterback race.
Either way this is going to be the hot story for LSU fans to follow, during the off-season………