The newest quarterback on campus is making quite the first impression on LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. Myles Brennan, the four-star signee from St. Stanislaus High School in Bay St. Louis, Miss., is quickly rising up the depth chart.
No, he hasn’t passed up Danny Etling, the senior incumbent and presumed starter when the Tigers take on BYU on Sept. 2 in Houston. But after watching the Mississippi prep state record-holder for passing yards and touchdowns spin it a few times this fall, Orgeron isn’t ready to rule out the possibility.
“The quarterback race is not over yet,” Orgeron said.
Etling, who threw for 2,123 yards, 11 touchdowns, and completed nearly 60 percent of his passes as a junior, continues to get the bulk of the first team reps, and Orgeron insists that behind him is a four-way tie – Brennan, freshman Lowell Narcisse, redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott, and redshirt sophomore Justin McMillan – for the No. 2 role, but Brennan has earned “very few” first team reps while picking up Matt Canada’s new offense.
“(Brennan) doesn’t know all the plays,” Orgeron said. “It’s a new installation every day. It’s a heavy installation. The guy is still in the learning period, the learning curve. I don’t want to put him in there and put too much pressure on him.
“Does he have the ability to be a first string quarterback as a freshman? Yes, he does. There’s no question about that. Is he ready? Not yet.”
Orgeron said Etling, who completed 5-of-11 passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s scrimmage, “had a very good day” on Wednesday. He also added that they’re adding plays to fit the skillset of Narcisse, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound dual-threat from St. James who enrolled early at LSU this spring. Scott and McMillan bring experience and athleticism to the table, too.
“All tied,” Orgeron said of the backups. “All of them bring something to the table. All those guys are getting reps. Matt has done a tremendous job of rotating those guys.”
Brennan seems to be a step ahead of his fellow reserves, though. Orgeron points to his raw arm talent, evidenced both by his ranking as the nation’s No. 6 pro style quarterback in the 2017 class, per 247Sports.com, and his Magnolia state records for total offense (16,168 yards), passing touchdowns (166) and passing yards (15,138).
“He is a natural thrower,” Orgeron said. “He still has to learn the offense and be more comfortable with his reads. But his release and his ability to throw the ball is very special.”
It stands to reason LSU would like to develop someone behind Etling, should he remain the starter this season, to take over the reins in 2018 – a thought Orgeron says is too far in the future to consider at the moment.
“We’re not thinking that far ahead,” he said. “Hopefully there some chances we can play some quarterbacks, let them play in a game.”
LSU won’t force playing time on a player to develop him, Orgeron insists, but that doesn’t mean Brennan or another backup won’t earn the opportunity to see serious game time in 2017. The way Brennan’s throwing the ball in the fall, he may just get the chance to show the world what he’s shown his coach behind closed doors.
“It’s fun to see that ball come out of his hands,” Orgeron said of Brennan. “We’ve got to bring him along when he’s ready. We are not going to throw him to the fire until he’s ready. That’s the worst thing we could do. We got a let him develop, let Lowell Narcisse develop. But when he’s ready, give him a chance.”