LSU could use Braxton Miller, Everett Golson and/or somebody else to play quarterback.
The Tigers cannot win the SEC next season if Anthony Jennings returns as the starting quarterback. Jennings' limitations as a passer were evident, as he completed no more than 50 percent of his passes in nine of 13 games in 2014.
That will not cut it.
There is still hope for Brandon Harris, who at times looked like a true freshman sensation. Instead, Harris was just a true freshman.
Harris relieved Jennings against Mississippi State and New Mexico State and was dominant, but he flopped in his only game as a starter on the road against Auburn. Head coach Les Miles would only allow him to throw one pass for the rest of the season.
Despite their troubles, Miles is optimistic about his two gunslingers. He said to expect another close competition during the offseason.
“I think that Brandon Harris will absolutely compete for the job, and I’m not discounting Anthony Jennings, just not going to do it,” Miles said, per Ross Dellenger of The Advocate. “But Brandon Harris is faster, throws the ball harder and really runs hard. Some fundamental things that he will improve on, and he’s ready to do so.”
The bottom line is LSU's quarterback play was the worst in the SEC West. The Tigers could desperately use some fresh blood at the position.
Ohio State's Braxton Miller would immediately be the best quarterback on LSU's roster, and possibly the SEC, if he chose to transfer to Baton Rouge. Miller was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury before the 2014 campaign began.
Outside of an upset loss to Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes performed just fine without Miller.
Backups J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones were able to lead Ohio State to its first national championship under head coach Urban Meyer.
WAFB's Steve Schneider has been told by multiple sources there is a "likely scenario" in which Miller leaves for LSU. With ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting Jones will stay in Columbus for another season, this will increase Miller's chances of transferring somewhere.
Notre Dame's Everett Golson led the Fighting Irish to a BCS National Championship berth in 2012. After sitting out 2013 due to a violation of team rules, Golson came back strong to start 2014.
Unfortunately for the Irish, Golson began to fall apart after throwing four interceptions against Arizona State. Notre Dame would go on to lose its final three games of the regular season.
Head coach Brian Kelly decided to start Malik Zaire against the Tigers in the Music City Bowl. Though Golson contributed to the win, it was Zaire who did most of the damage.
Miller and Golson could be looking for new
jobs opportunities to be student-athletes at a different academic institution. The Tigers could use either of the two, but which one is likelier to come to Baton Rouge?
Miller is a better player than Golson. With that said, there will be more competition for his services.
Miller has been linked with nearly every school that needs a quarterback, and rightfully so. His ability to throw and run should make every offensive coordinator in the country drool.
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee sees Miller as a perfect fit in Oregon to replace Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. He could also take the reins from another Heisman winner, Florida State's Jameis Winston, in Tallahassee.
ESPN's Travis Haney wonders if Miller's best option is to stay at Ohio State. But beating out Barrett and Jones after a year of sitting out is a tall task.
Fox Sports' Todd Furhman told sports talk show host Bo Mattingly he sees Miller as the third-string quarterback if he stays with the Buckeyes:
Fuhrman: Cardale Jones is the favorite to start for OSU. JT Barrett is 2nd. Braxton Miller’s best chance to play might be a position change.— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) January 14, 2015
Chances are Miller does not want to sit on the bench or change positions. This means he would have to transfer.
It's hard to sugarcoat Golson's final four games. With that said, his entire season was far from a disaster.
Golson has some raw tools offensive coordinator Cam Cameron could tune into an effective starting quarterback yet again. It was clear his confidence faded as the pressure to insert Zaire grew.
Golson's struggles were not entirely his fault. His offensive line crumbled and the Irish defense became plagued with injuries. The pressure on him to make plays was immense.
Like Miller, Golson can make plays with his legs. His arm is above average and he has proved his ability to make plays in big moments in the past.
Why They Should Come to LSU
LSU does not have a passing attack to brag about, especially compared to schools like Florida State and Oregon. The Tigers finished an embarrassing 116th in passing yards per game in 2014.
But the main reason why the Tigers' passing attack struggled was because of the quarterback position.
The Tigers' pass protection was good, but not great in 2014. They allowed a rather disappointing 25 sacks, yet plenty of those were due to Jennings or Harris holding on to the football too long. Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes will have his talented group ready to go next season.
A case could be made for LSU having the most talented receivers in the SEC.
Travin Dural burst onto the scene as one of college football's best deep threats last season. Malachi Dupre, the No. 2-rated receiver in the 2014 recruiting class, showed flashes of excellence as a true freshman. John Diarse developed into a potential slot star with a strong close to the season.
Incoming 5-star 2015 commit Tyron Johnson will be an instant playmaker in his first season.
Those young pass-catchers should have quarterbacks across the country salivating at the thought of coming to Baton Rouge. Cameron has already proved he can produce points at a high level. He just needs a capable NFL quarterback to do it.
Above all else, quarterbacks should come to LSU for the treatment they will receive. Sure, signal-callers everywhere are treated like royalty, but Tiger fans are thirstier than ever for better quarterback play.
Zach Mettenberger has been LSU's only reasonably good quarterback since Miles had Matt Flynn in 2007. Mettenberger was often referred to as "The Mettsiah" in 2013, as he was the key cog in the most explosive offense Miles has ever had.
Miller and Golson could have the opportunity to play with elite receiving talent and a proven quarterback guru in Cameron for one of the college football's best programs.
All it would take is beating out two average signal-callers.
Miller is the likelier of the two to join LSU by a slight margin.
Bleacher Report's Keith Arnold states there are some "huge hurdles" Golson must climb in order to leave South Bend:
Golson doesn't graduate until May, making any decision to explore options now more than a little premature. That means Golson will be on campus—and on the roster—for spring football, 15 very important practices for a team with lofty aspirations in 2015. If Golson is already looking for a way out, that isn't likely to sit well with his head coach, let alone his teammates.
Also clouding the situation is Golson's actual eligibility to play for LSU. According to The Times-Picayune report, while a ban on allowing graduate transfer players has been lifted, Golson's admission at any SEC school would need to go through a waiver process.
Arnold is right on both accounts. Golson could easily prove himself in the spring and beat out Zaire for the starting job. Also, the SEC waiver process can truly be a mess. He does not want to miss any potential games, especially considering he had to sit out the entire 2013 season.
Though it is impossible to tell how many schools are asking about him, it is rational to think Golson is not being pursued as heavily as Miller. With that said, he is the less likely of the two to transfer.
Miller could find himself third on the depth chart at the end of Ohio State's spring practice. That alone will likely scare him into packing his bags and going elsewhere.
Miller would immediately make LSU a national championship contender. But the same can be said about Oregon, Florida State and other programs that are potentially pursuing him.
The difference, though, is Miller may not want to be in the shadow of Mariota or Winston. At LSU, he could make a deeper and more impactful legacy of his own.
Unfortunately for LSU fans, Miller or Golson coming to Baton Rouge is unlikely. If that is the case, the Tigers must have faith in Jennings or Harris leading them to the SEC Championship Game next season.
Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter at @CarterthePower.