Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Zach Mettenberger may be a completely different type of quarterback than Cam Newton, but the two did follow a very similar path throughout their collegiate careers. Like Newton, Mettenberger was formerly a highly touted high school recruit who dealt with the embarrassment of departing a high-profile SEC school under compromising circumstances.
Also like Newton, the former Georgia Bulldog was able to salvage his career in the JUCO ranks.
Unfortunately, what Mettenberger was not able to do was have anywhere near the same type of success during his first season as a starter at LSU as Newton had during his Heisman-caliber campaign at Auburn.
While there were a few times in 2012 when the strong-armed signal-caller showed flashes of his immense talent—most notably his 294-yard passing performance against Alabama—overall, his first season leading the Tigers offense left a lot to be desired. Mettenberger completed just 58 percent of his passes, averaged just 7.3 yards per throw, hit just 12 touchdown passes and finished the year with a 127 passer rating, which ranked 11th in the SEC.
After seeing Mettenberger's highly touted quarterback struggle last season, Les Miles knew he had to make a change to help Mettenberger improve in his senior year. That's why he brought in former NFL offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to change up LSU's offensive system.
The partnership proved to be a perfect pairing in 2013, as Mettenberger flourished in Cameron's offense. The 6'5'', 230-pound senior completed 65 percent of his passes, averaged more than 10 yards per throw, threw 22 touchdowns and led the SEC with a 171 passer rating.
Sadly, Mettenberger's season came to a disappointing end when he was knocked out of LSU's final regular season game against Arkansas with a torn ACL. While the injury may hinder the breakout star signal-caller's draft stock, he still was able to do enough this season to show scouts that he's got all the skills it takes to be a successful starter at the NFL level.