The 2021 LSU quarterback battle will be one to keep an eye on as Spring practice continues. The three contenders for the Tigers will battle it out throughout Spring and Summer practice for the starting spot. This battle could even continue into the season this Fall. During the early practices, Max Johnson has been the leading player under center. However, Myles Brennan and TJ Finley will likely compete with Johnson for the starting job in week one at UCLA. As practice continues, there have been several different looks for the coaching staff.
Brennan missed all but three games last season with an abdominal injury. This injury allowed Finley to play for a few games. Then, Johnson started the final two games. Entering practice this Spring, Johnson has been the one taking first-team reps. Many believe that Johnson will be the starter in September when the season starts. But who should really be under center for the first game?
2021 LSU Quarterback Outlook
Let’s look at the chances of all three quarterbacks being named the starter for the season. Though September is still months away, the speculation never stops in Baton Rouge. While the Tigers are still preparing for the final scrimmage on April 17th, the new coaching staff has to get a good look at each quarterback.
With the new staff, things will be different. The offensive scheme and play calling will look different from the 2020 season. Hopefully, that applies to the defensive side of the ball as well. But for now, let’s focus on the offense and specifically the quarterbacks. Which player has the best realistic chance of being under center in Pasadena on September 4th?
Entering 2021, the redshirt junior will be back and fully healthy. That poses a good sign for a new-look offense under Jake Peetz. Although, the main question surrounding Brennan is whether or not the other two quarterbacks will give him trouble in the competition. The short answer to that is yes, and by both Johnson and Finley.
However, LSU fans would likely be more excited about seeing a fully healthy Brennan under center in the first game. After all, he gives the team the best chance to win. Despite being out for so long, the signal-caller is ready to take back his throne as the starter.
Last season, Brennan showed promise in the passing game until he was injured. He gave the team the best chance to win. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Brennan through the Spring and Summer competition before the season starts. He could even be in the mix as the competition likely continues when the season officially starts.
Johnson drew attention from the coaching staff at the end of last season. The rising sophomore led the Tigers to back-to-back wins to close out the season. His performance at the end of the 2020 season is what fuels the speculation that he will start in 2021. That isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem to some fans. Sure, he only played two full games. But taking observations from those starts, Johnson could be the next man up in Baton Rouge.
With Johnson under center, LSU is a greatly defined team. He made throws that helped the team finish on a strong note in 2020. It doesn’t just end there, though. The reality is that he can continue his success and lead the team again this season.
He will have to hold off Brennan and Finley. The talk around Baton Rouge is that Johnson has the skills and attributes to become the clear-cut starter soon enough. It may end up being the first game, but the competition will tell more.
Finley is a quarterback with a lot of promise. Before fans write him off, the dual-threat did some good things in the pocket last season. He had his moments where he didn’t play well. Take the Auburn game for instance. Finley was the starter and LSU lost 48-11. The Auburn game was his first career start and it was on the road in a hostile environment. Can that be an excuse? No, but it goes to show that he matured through that and bounced back to get the team back on track.
While he isn’t the favorite, Finley does have a tremendous upside to his game that gives the coaching staff a reason to give him a chance entering 2021.
The 2021 LSU quarterback competition is one of the key position battles to watch. No matter which guy is under center, each one gives the team a chance to win in their own way. This season will be a test of adversity for a program that finished 5-5 last season after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship a year earlier.
But leave no doubt, the quarterback battle will give the team a better identity moving towards the start of the season. Based on the assessments from last season, Brennan will start the first game. However, Johnson likely won’t give him the position willingly. The LSU quarterback battle will undoubtedly continue through the first game of the season.