Early position outlook: How the LSU QBs break down

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The quarterback battle for the 2022 season is going to be an interesting one. Joe Sloan joins the staff as the new quarterbacks’ coach after a long tenure as the offensive coordinator and a variety of other roles with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Sloan knows the recruiting landscape in the state of Louisiana and is now tasked with leading the quarterbacks. The Tigers head into next season with three scholarship quarterbacks with Myles Brennan, Garrett Nussmeier, and incoming freshman Walker Howard.

Last season it was Brennan, Nussmeier, and Max Johnson. You can essentially trade Johnson for Howard as the former transferred to Texas A&M, and the latter signed with LSU in the 2022 recruiting class.

Based on Mike Denbrock’s offense over the last four seasons in Cincinnati, it appears that he likes to use mobile quarterbacks. They utilized Desmond Ridder in the passing game and the running game. He finished his Bearcats’ career with 10,239 yards passing and another 2,180 yards rushing. Ridder accounted for 37 touchdowns this year, 30 through the air, six on the ground, and even caught one.

We start with the senior

Myles Brennan, Senior

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Once again Brennan is heading into the offseason with a quarterback battle on his hands. It was supposed to be him and Max Johnson battling it out in the fall for the starting job. He suffered an injury to his nonthrowing arm, ending his shot in 2021. After entering the transfer portal, Brennan withdrew his name after a conversation with new head coach Brian Kelly.

The signee from the 2017 class has the most experience of the group, but not by much. While he has appeared in 18 games, only three came as a starter. In the three-game stint as the starter in 2020, Brennan racked up 1,112 yards with 11 touchdowns. It was a promising start that ended abruptly.

There are some durability concerns as we saw the last two seasons finished with him on the injured list. If he can stay healthy, you have to like his chances to start. However, there is one glaring concern in his game. Brennan isn’t known as much of a mobile quarterback. He is known as a pocket passer that resembles a statue.

That isn’t the end-all for Brennan but it could come into play when they make the decision.

Next, the redshirt freshman gunslinger

Garrett Nussmeier, Redshirt Freshman

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

We didn’t see Garrett Nussmeier in the bowl game as he opted to not burn his redshirt. He is a true gunslinger quarterback in that he will take chances, the question remains on how much the staff can reign him in.

Nussmeier played the most in the game against Arkansas. He took the field in the third series against the Razorbacks and couldn’t will them to victory. He completed 58.3% of his passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. Nuss will take chances. The thing you love about him will be the thing that will drive you nuts.

Nussmeier is the complete opposite of Brennan, he will run around the pocket to extend plays. With an offensive line that will be completely overhauled, that might be beneficial for the offense. Nussmeier can escape pressure allowing their wide receiver groups that will feature Kayshon Boutte and Malik Nabers to create in the scramble drill.

With a new offensive coordinator, Nussmeier might have just as much of a chance to be the starter as Brennan. There is no loyalty with this staff as it will be all-new for all parties involved.

Finally, the five-star quarterback signee

Walker Howard, Freshman

Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP

The final name in the mix is the legacy quarterback. Howard’s father Jamie played quarterback for LSU from 1992-95 seasons. It is time for the younger Howard to carry the torch for his family. Many thought that Walker Howard would sign with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish because of Brian Kelly. When the Tigers announced that Kelly would take the reigns in Baton Rouge, that all but locked in Howard with the Tigers.

His senior season was filled with injuries as he broke his leg during the season but he returned to the team in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately for Howard, he would reinjure his leg. The fortunate part is that he had ample time to get healed up before the start of spring football.

During his junior season at St. Thomas More, Howard threw for 42 touchdowns and added another three on the ground. He is more of a passer than a runner but Howard is capable of impacting the game in both areas. The key for him will be getting used to the speed of the collegiate game. Something that Nussmeier had to deal with in 2021.

With all three quarterbacks, each has a shot to win the job come September when they open with Florida State. At this point, it is anyone’s guess as to which quarterback has the edge.

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