BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU has a quarterback problem. Again.
For the first time since 2012, LSU completed a recruiting class without signing a quarterback on Wednesday, missing on 4-star passer James Foster, who chose Texas A&M over LSU and Florida State. That leaves LSU with only three scholarship quarterbacks heading into 2018, three passers who have combined to make zero starts and throw 25 passes in their college careers.
Between Myles Brennan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan, the Tigers have three intriguing prospects at quarterback. But in the high-stakes world of college football, depth is as important as intrigue. And quarterback depth is something the Tigers simply won’t have.
So, how did LSU make it through an entire recruiting class without signing a quarterback, especially with senior Danny Etling graduating and backups Lindsey Scott Jr. and Caleb Lewis electing to transfer away in the past six months? To LSU coach Ed Orgeron, the choice was about keeping standards high.
The Tigers would’ve taken Foster. If not him, it was nobody.
“It all depends on who’s available,” Orgeron said. “That was always the plan if Foster didn’t sign. We wouldn’t use that scholarship on anyone else.”
Orgeron said he didn’t want to “waste” a scholarship on a quarterback the Tigers wouldn’t use. Especially when there are other options available. By pocketing two scholarships in this class, Orgeron said LSU can now go after a transfer or a graduate transfer at quarterback to add a veteran presence to the room.
Orgeron didn’t mention any transfer options by name, nor could he if he wanted to, but 2018 should be an intriguing year for quarterbacks looking to find new homes. Former Texas A&M starter Kyle Allen could be on the move again, and Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst and Michigan passer Wilton Speight have already declared their intentions to leave their schools. All three of those players should be eligible to play without sitting out a year as a result of earning their degrees.
Of course, signing a transfer wouldn’t be unprecedented for LSU. Etling came to Baton Rouge by way of Purdue and former starter Zach Mettenberger ended up at LSU after starting his college career at Georgia. But LSU doesn’t have to go after a graduate transfer. With an extra scholarship to play with, LSU could offer a player looking to leave his school and sit out a year, using the scholarship the Tigers didn’t expend on Foster to bring in a project player.
That said, in order for LSU to turn the corner at quarterback, the Tigers are going to need to depend on Brennan, Narcisse or McMillan in 2018. That would’ve been as true with Foster in Baton Rouge as it is without him.
Still, the lack of depth is concerning. No matter what Orgeron has to say.
“We feel that we have three outstanding quarterbacks on our team,” Orgeron said. “But if one of them gets hurt, we’ll be very thin.”