Examining the Depth Chart Awaiting Joe Burrow at LSU

Joe Burrow to LSU

It is safe to say that former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow was going to transfer to a place where he felt he was likely to start.

With him choosing LSU on Friday, that gives you a pretty good idea of what he believes the Tigers’ depth chart looks like at quarterback currently.

But is he correct in his assumption?


LSU must replace 2-year starter Danny Etling, who was a 7th-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in last month’s NFL Draft. Etling transferred to LSU from Purdue, so the Tigers have gone back to the transfer well once again. And like last time, they are doing so because they don’t feel great about their home-grown options.

Redshirt junior Justin McMillan likely left the spring as the No. 1 quarterback for LSU, even though he was inconsistent throughout spring camp. McMillan has thrown just one pass in his 3-year career, and that came in 2016. In last month’s spring game, he completed 14-of-29 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 48 yards on eight carries.

McMillan came to LSU as a 3-star prospect from Texas, choosing the Tigers over offers from Arkansas State and UNLV

Etling’s backup last year was Myles Brennan, who won the job as a true freshman. He completed 14-of-24 passes for 182 yards last season. He is the only quarterback on the LSU roster who has thrown more than one pass — at least until Joe Burrow arrives.

Brennan was the No. 6 pocket passer in the 2017 class. He signed with LSU out of Mississippi over offers from Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Indiana, Cincinnati, and Kentucky.

LSU actually signed two quarterbacks in the 2017 class in Brennan and Lowell Narcisse, who redshirted last sason. Narcisse threw for 205 yards in the spring game, but 94 yards of that came on a broken 5-yard completion that featured 89 yards of run-after-catch. Out of St. James, Louisiana, Narcisse was the No. 9 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 class and held offers from Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, and Illinois.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron did not sign any quarterbacks in the 2018 class, which had to be a painful swing-and-miss considering the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation — Justin Rogers (Bossier City, LA) — chose TCU over LSU after an official visit to both schools.

If you haven’t been impressed by LSU’s current litany of quarterbacks, then you now understand one of the reasons why Joe Burrow ended up in Baton Rouge.

LSU’s current quarterbacks have combined to complete 15-of-25 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in seven total games played. Burrow, meanwhile, has played in 11 games and completed 29-of-39 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.

None of LSU’s four options — including Burrow — have established themselves at all, but Orgeron didn’t reach out to Burrow to be a backup. He knows they need immediate help and he believes Burrow can provide it.

If he can’t, well at least now the depth chart has two quarterbacks on it with some experience.

If Burrow wins the job, he could endear himself immediately to the LSU faithful because the Tigers open the 2018 season in Arlington, Texas on a Sunday night against a Miami Hurricanes team that could be ranked in the Top 10. Two weeks later, LSU heads to Auburn.

Once Burrow gets his footing after a few games, the Tigers will travel to Florida on October 6, then host Georgia the following week.

If Joe Burrow truly wants to become an LSU “hereaux”, Alabama comes to Death Valley on November 3.

Of course, a memorable performance against the Crimson Tide may end up making him a one-and-done transfer who then leaves for the NFL after the season.

If it means a win over Nick Saban, however, LSU fans and coaches would gladly take the trade off.

Joe Burrow doesn’t solve the quarterback problem for LSU just yet, but when it comes time to ask the questions for real, he very well could have every answer the Tigers need.

[LSU fan photo courtesy]


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