Anthony Jennings could be LSU's next great quarterback.
After Zach Mettenberger went down with a nasty-looking knee injury, Jennings took over and led LSU to a victory over Arkansas with a game-winning drive that spanned almost the entire length of the field.
Not only did Jennings lead the team for the full 99 yards, he either ran or threw for every single one of them. He showed abilities that LSU was hoping they were going to see from Ryan Perrilloux before they had to dismiss Perrilloux from the team.
Before leading 99-yard drive, LSU freshman QB Anthony Jennings had completed two college passes.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) November 29, 2013
Those include pinpoint passing, instinctual rushing when it's needed and leadership in the clutch. Oh, and much like Mettenberger, he has a cannon for an arm. LSU is in a good spot with Jennings as its starter and could retool instead of rebuild once Mettenberger graduates.
|1||Asiantii Woulard||Winter Park, FL||6'3"||204||4||83||UCLA|
|2||Matt Alviti||Park Ridge, IL||6'0"||192||4||83||Northwestern|
|3||Troy Williams||Harbor City, CA||6'2"||190||4||83||Washington|
|4||Joshua Dobbs||Alpharetta, GA||6'3"||190||4||83||Tennessee|
|5||Chris Johnson||Bryan, TX||6'4"||210||4||83||Baylor|
|6||Malik Zaire||Kettering, OH||6'1"||196||4||83||Notre Dame|
|7||Mitch Trubisky||Mentor, OH||6'3"||198||4||83||North Carolina|
|8||Anthony Jennings||Marietta, GA||6'2"||205||4||83||LSU|
|9||Cord Sandberg||Bradenton, FL||6'2"||200||4||82||Miss. State|
|10||Johnny Stanton||Rancho Santa Margarita, CA||6'2"||221||4||82||Nebraska|
According to ESPN.com, Jennings was the eighth-best dual threat quarterback in the nation coming out in the 2013 recruiting class. While Josh Dobbs is the only one rated higher than him to see time on the field this season, Jennings showed talents that could make his recruiting ranking look low.
For a guy who was a 4-star recruit with an 83 grade to look underrated, the freshman from Marietta High School needs to continue performing like he did against Arkansas on the final drive. His 4-of-6 passing for 76 yards and two rushes for 23 yards on the final drive showed just a small sliver of his talents.
If he finally reaches his potential, Heisman hype and Davey O'Brien Awards wouldn't be out of the question. LSU has already surrounded him with some great talent.
Freshman WR Travin Dural is already making plays, but the Tigers also have multiple 4-star pass catchers from their 2013 class—receivers Avery Peterson, John Diarse, Rickey Jefferson, and Quantavius Leslie—and even a 4-star tight end in DeSean Smith.
Add in 2014 recruits who have committed in 4-star tight end Jacory Washington and 4-star receivers Trey Quinn and Tony Upchurch and the Tigers have a ton of talent that will have to compete just to see the field with Jennings.
So as you can see, LSU will surround him with equally talented weapons. His biggest challenge will be distributing the ball.
What Jennings Brings to the Offense
While Mettenberger is the standard pocket passer with a cannon for an arm, prototypical size at 6'5", 230 pounds and good accuracy, Jennings is a more compact 6'2", 205 pounds, but he's got running back speed to go with an arm talent that is almost on par with Mettenberger's.
Jennings gives offensive coordinator Cam Cameron running options he didn't have with Mettenberger under center, much like what Washington does with Robert Griffin III and what Denver used to do with John Elway and Jake Plummer. Jennings gives great backside rollout misdirection abilities.
With LSU always having a good crop of running backs and wide receivers, it wouldn't be surprising to see Jennings get utilized more in the offense than Mettenberger was. He fits exactly the kind of accurate mobile quarterback that truly succeeds in the SEC.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.