Editor’s note: As LSU prepares for what should be a promising 2016 campaign, expectations are sky-high as the team returns 18 starters and the nation’s third-ranked recruiting class.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a closer look at LSU’s 25 most important players who will determine whether this upcoming season will be a success or letdown.
25. Danny Etling
LSU’s backup quarterback pushed for the starting job, but finished in second to incumbent Brandon Harris this spring.
Etling, who transferred to LSU from Purdue and was forced to sit out all of 2015, replaces Anthony Jennings, who announced his transfer from the program at the start of spring practices.
The 6-foot-3, 226-pound junior started 12 games for the Boilermakers from 2013-14. Etling drew the start in the team’s final seven games in 2013 as a freshman, completing nearly 56 percent of his throws for 1,690 yards and 10 touchdowns. The following season, in five starts, he passed for 800 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Etling provided competition for Harris early on in spring, as both quarterbacks adjusted to the new spread-style attack that Cam Cameron was implementing. Both flashed signs, and Etling even showed off his deep-passing skills during the LSU spring game with a 70-yard touchdown to freshman receiver Dee Anderson, the longest play of the contest.
LSU’s wide receivers endorse both Harris and Etling as capable leaders behind center capable of leading the Tigers offense in 2016. Even though Harris won the starting job, Etling will play a critical role. Should Harris struggle early on or suffer an injury, it will be on the backup to pick up the pieces and lead this talent-laden squad.
Because he enjoyed a successful spring with the team, Etling has given no indication that he is not ready to step in for Harris, if needed.
Coming Tuesday: A true freshman corner
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.