LSU football‘s quarterback situation feels messy right now.
The Tigers tossed true freshman Garrett Nussmeier into the mix last week against Arkansas, benching Max Johnson after two drives.
Nussmeier completed 18-of-31 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
After the loss, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said that Johnson will be the starter against Louisiana-Monroe this weekend.
"“I like Garrett. I like Max. I don’t feel like Garrett beat Max out,” Orgeron said. “I don’t think Max deserves to be benched. I gave him a chance to beat him out, and I think he’s a very good player. That play he made on the touchdown was a phenomenal play, but we all saw minus-3 in the turnover ratio, and we only scored seven points.“So, Max is still our starter.”"
Orgeron obviously didn’t feel like Johnson wasn’t getting the job done for the Tigers’ offense, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone to Nussmeier.
What makes this situation even messier is the fact that Orgeron left the decision to redshirt this season up to Nussmeier and his father. They decided to not redshirt, which means they felt like Nussmeier was ready to be a starting quarterback in the SEC.
So what happens now?
Will LSU football lose another quarterback to the transfer portal?
The Tigers have already lost redshirt senior quarterback Myles Brennan to the transfer portal (Brennan has another year of eligibility due to the extra “COVID year” granted by the NCAA).
And it seems likely that another LSU quarterback will soon hit the portal.
Johnson and Nussmeier both feel like they should be starting in the SEC. But only one of them will be starting for LSU next season (the Tigers will also have five-star 2022 quarterback Walker Howard next year).
Will Johnson be fine with being relegated to the bench if Nussmeier wins the job? Or will Nussmeier be okay with backing up Johnson for another year?
A few years ago, this wouldn’t have been a major issue. But the transfer portal has added a new wrinkle. The recruiting process essentially never stops.
I think Orgeron was doing the right thing by giving Nussmeier a shot. There’s really nothing he can do to prevent one of these players from leaving. It’s just the nature of college football in 2021.
LSU is at the mercy of the portal. That’s why they’d be wise to add a preferred walk-on quarterback or a low-rated three-star quarterback to their 2022 recruiting class, just so they have some quality depth that will stick around.