Thursday, February 20, 2014
Offseason spotlight: LSU
Today's spotlight shines brightly on a quarterback looking to fill some pretty big shoes and a big arm in Baton Rouge:
Spotlight: Quarterback Anthony Jennings, 6-2, 211 pounds, rising sophomore
2013 summary: Jennings threw for 181 yards and a touchdown with one interception on 13 of 29 passing. He replaced starter Zach Mettenberger (ACL) in the fourth quarter of the season-finale against Arkansas, leading the Tigers on a game-winning, 99-yard touchdown drive that was capped with his 49-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural with 1:15 remaining. He then started in place of Mettenberger in the Tigers' 21-14 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl, where he threw for 82 yards with an interception.
The skinny: Now that Mettenberger is gone, the Tigers are searching for their quarterback of the future, and Jennings is currently No. 1 on that list. He wasn't perfect during his time on the field in 2013, but he guided the Tigers well enough for them to pull out two close wins at the end of the season. With LSU's offense shifting to accommodate a more dual-threat quarterback, Jennings should feel comfortable running things under center this spring. While he didn't show tendencies to be a run-first quarterback during his limited time on the field last season, Jennings can make plays with his feet if needed. What he needs to focus on is his accuracy and decision-making, which will come with more reps and more time with his receivers, a group that will look totally different with the loss of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. to the NFL draft. The athletic Jennings can now call LSU his team, but it's not like he won't have competition. Even with reserve Stephen Rivers deciding to transfer, Jennings is expected to get major push from true freshman Brandon Harris, who was rated the No. 2 overall dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 recruiting class by ESPN's Recruiting Nation. Harris is currently on campus, so he's already had his opportunities to push Jennings before spring ball even begins. LSU had such stability with Mettenberger at quarterback and is coming off a season in which the Tigers boasted one of the SEC's best offenses. With inexperience now littering the receiver spot, LSU needs that stability back in order to keep the offense going, and that starts with Jennings.