Quarterback position key to LSU’s future success
Those days may be gone forever. You know, the days where LSU could rely on its defense and a stout running attack to pile up double-digit wins each season.
Les Miles’ ability to recruit and develop the quarterback position is critical if the Tigers plan to return to the top of the SEC West. All you need to do is look at the top 5 teams in the Associated Press poll.
They are quarterbacked by Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Jameis Winston (Florida State), Bo Wallace (Ole Miss), Bryce Petty (Baylor) and Everett Golson (Notre Dame).
Prescott is the early-season leader for the Heisman Trophy, which Winston won last year. Wallace accounted for three touchdowns and no turnovers in a win at Texas A&M. Petty led his team to 24 unanswered points in the last 10:39 as Baylor beat TCU 61-58. In 2013, Golson was suspended. Notre Dame lost four games. The Irish have already avenged losses to Michigan and Stanford.
As of the games of Oct. 11, those five quarterbacks ranked eighth, 13th, 24th, 14th and 19th in total offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Meantime, since 2010, LSU has had far more misses than hits recruiting quarterbacks.
The 2010 class featured Zach Lee, who enrolled in school in June but left to sign as a pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lee’s $5.25 million bonus was the largest in the history of the organization.
The 2011 class featured junior-college quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Jerrard Randall and Stephen Rivers. Randall enrolled at Northeast Mississippi Community College and then transferred to Arizona. Rivers did not play any meaningful snaps and departed for Vanderbilt.
LSU’s 2012 quarterback signee was Jeremy Liggins. Liggins failed to qualify and signed with Northeast Mississippi. He is now at Ole Miss.
LSU’s 2013 class included current starter Anthony Jennings and Hayden Rettig. Rettig spent one year at LSU before transferring to Rutgers.
LSU’s 2014 signee was Parkway’s Brandon Harris, who made his first collegiate start at Auburn.
Texas quarterback Justin McMillan has committed to LSU in the class of 2015. The Tigers also have a commitment in the class of 2016 from Floridian Feleipé Franks, who is ranked No. 41 in the ESPN 300. Calvary Baptist quarterback Shea Patterson is ranked No. 35 in the class of 2016.
It was three years ago next month when LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa. That “Game of the Century” featured a total of 32 first downs.
In the three years since, the change in the SEC West has been dramatic. And, for LSU to be relevant again in the toughest division in college football, it must make dramatic improvement at the quarterback position.