LSU has a new quarterback, but it’s not nearly as momentous as the phrase “LSU has a new quarterback” might indicate. However, it’s also nothing to sneeze at — the Tigers need this guy.
Tennessee Tech transfer Andre Sale has enrolled at LSU, becoming the rare player to move up from the FCS level to the FBS.
The escalator often moves in the other direction. This past season, center Andy Dodd transferred from LSU to McNeese State for more playing time, and fellow offensive lineman Maea Teuhema left for Southeastern Louisiana for off-the-field reasons. The fact that Sale is doing the opposite may create some additional intrigue for fans, but they should not be expecting the next Carson Wentz.
Sale, a 2-star recruit from Little Rock, picked Tennessee Tech over offers from Tennessee-Martin and Austin Peay. He threw for 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 59 percent of his passes for 1,520 yards in seven games for the Golden Eagles as a redshirt freshman this season.
However, fans shouldn’t expect to see Sale on the field any time soon, if at all. Though players can transfer from the FBS to FCS without sitting a year, in going the opposite direction Sale has to sit out this season. For lack of a better term, he is a practice body. The starting quarterback competition this spring will still boil down to sophomore Myles Brennan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse.
Caleb Lewis, who was LSU’s fifth-string quarterback this season, has transferred to FCS school Robert Morris University. Justin McMillan is still on the roster, but is a logical choice to transfer if he wants to be a starting quarterback. (It would take a revelatory spring for McMillan to become one of LSU’s options.)
In the worst-case scenario — McMillan transferring and LSU failing to add a quarterback to its 2018 signing class — the Tigers could have been going into next fall with Brennan and Narcisse as the only quarterbacks on the roster. That’s why adding a player such as Sale was absolutely necessary for the Tigers.
Even if you’re unlikely to see him in a game, Sale will be a very important piece to the program. The Tigers need a quarterback just to run the scout-team offense in practice, and that’s what Sale may bring to the table.
From Sale’s perspective, it’s probably worth taking the chance. Danny Etling once transferred to LSU as a backup, too.
Though it’s not a transfer who brings the excitement of Jarrett Stidham moving from Baylor to Auburn, you can bet that the addition of Sale is giving Ed Orgeron a sigh of relief.