Max Johnson Named LSU Starting Quarterback

Max Johnson
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LSU named it’s starting quarterback for the 2021 season. Sophomore Max Johnson will get the nod under center when the Tigers take on UCLA in Pasadena on September 4.

Tigers quarterback Myles Brennan is out with a left arm injury that he suffered on Monday. His timetable is unclear but it will require surgery. The consensus thought in the off-season was that Johnson would be the starter entering the 2021 season. Now, that thought is a reality. As LSU enters a new year, the Tigers will be looking to improve on both sides of the ball from an abysmal 5-5 season in 2020.

Max Johnson Named LSU Starting Quarterback

Both Brennan and Johnson were competing for the starting role in camp. Head coach Ed Orgeron said there was no clear favorite, but that Brennan was outperforming Johnson one day and vice versa on other days. Much of the fan base thought Johnson would get the starting role in week one.

Johnson has the attributes to be a great quarterback in Baton Rouge. In his two starts last season, he passed for 1,069 yards while completing 88-of-150 passes. The sophomore tossed eight touchdowns to just one interception. He finished the season with a quarterback rating of 134.8 in his two starts.

LSU is now down to just two playable scholarship quarterbacks in Johnson and freshman Garrett Nussmeier. Nussmeier will be the backup to Johnson with Brennan now out. A return in 2021 for Brennan is looking unlikely, but there is always the possibility depending on the severity of his injury.

What To Expect From The Sophomore Signal-Caller

Giving Johnson the nod is the right move for the Tigers. He has more playing experience at the college level over Nussmeier. With LSU looking to bring back the 2019 offense, Johnson could be the key to its success. He makes accurate throws and can pick up yards with his legs. He ran for 119 yards and two scores on 54 attempts in 2020. The new LSU starter was thrown into a tough first road start at Florida and helped lead the team to a big win. 

With star receiver Kayshon Boutte and a handful of other weapons, Johnson will have all the tools he needs to carry the offense in the right direction. The play calling from new offensive coordinator Jake Peetz can take Johnson far. However, fans shouldn’t expect him to have a Joe Burrow 2019 type of season under center. Even with a new offense, the Tigers could still struggle on offense through the first week of the season.

Should the Tigers run more of the RPO this season, that will benefit Johnson well. He impressed in the Spring game back in April and showed signs of improvement from a season ago. The sophomore wasn’t terrible last year, but he didn’t necessarily win the game outright for the Tigers either. As the offense got better in the final two games, Johnson was a big factor in that.

At this point, it is just a waiting game to see how well Johnson executes the offense as the starter. LSU kicks off its 2021 season on September 4 at the Rose Bowl against UCLA. That will be Johnson’s first test of the new season.


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