LSU's Hatch to get first shot at quarterback?

July, 23, 2008
7/23/08
8:06
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

 
 Joe Murphy/Getty Images
 Can Andrew Hatch make the leap from Harvard to lead the defending national champions?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Granted, I'm reading between the lines here and going on some of what I've heard out of the LSU camp the last few weeks, but I think Andrew Hatch will be the Tigers' starting quarterback in the opener against Appalachian State.

That's right, a guy who started his career on the freshman team at Harvard quarterbacking the defending national champions.

LSU coach Les Miles wasn't giving up anything about his quarterback situation Wednesday, but listen carefully to what he did say.

"The most consistent performer, the guy that makes the play, the guy that is least likely to turn it over, least likely to make poor decisions ... that will be, in my opinion, the first thing that will allow them to get on the field," Miles said.

That guy in the spring was Hatch, even though Miles has yet to come out publicly and say that he's the leader heading into preseason practice. And remember, too, that a lot can happen in those practices leading up to the opener.

Senior center Brett Helms likes Hatch's mobility.

"He's more of a runner. He's more athletic," Helms said. "He's got more speed. That's one thing he brings to the table more so than Jarrett Lee, running the ball and using the option and things like that."

Lee, a redshirt freshman, will be Hatch's chief competition for the job now that Ryan Perrilloux is playing his college football at Jacksonville State. But Helms also said not to discount true freshman Jordan Jefferson.

"He has a lot of talent, and I want to see what happens with him," Helms said of the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Jefferson. "He's a real speedy guy. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out in August and who's going to be the starter."

Keep in mind that Hatch has a history with LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who recruited Hatch to BYU before Crowton was fired there. Hatch wound up at Harvard and then went on his Mormon mission, but was injured playing soccer in Chile while on his mission.

When Crowton landed at LSU as offensive coordinator, he was looking for another quarterback prior to last season. The two sides had kept in touch, and Hatch decided to walk on. He's since been given a scholarship.

When it all shakes out, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hatch, Lee and Jefferson all play at some point this season.

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