Monday, February 6, 2023

LSU’s Myles Brennan ends football career: QB battle down to two as sixth-year senior leaves program

LSU quarterback Myles Brennan has opted to retire from football, the program announced on Monday. Brennan, a sixth-year senior, was immersed in a three-way summer battle with Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels and redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier for the starting job under center. 

“We are grateful to Myles for everything he has done for LSU football,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “Myles is a great leader who has made a tremendous impact on this program and he has earned the respect of everyone here through his commitment and love for LSU.” 

Brennan was a promising recruit in the class of 2017, but unfortunate circumstances kept him from ever truly being cemented as the starter for the Tigers. The Mississippi native backed up Joe Burrow for two seasons and was poised to be the full-time starter in 2020, but he suffered an injury just three games into the season. In 2021, Brennan again had a shot to earn the starting job but broke his arm off the field, which kept him out for the entirety of the season. 

With Brennan gone, the Tigers are down to Daniels and Nussmeier battling it out for the starting nod. Daniels has thrown for more than 6,000 yards and rushed for nearly 1,300 in his collegiate career, while Nussmeier completed 50.9% of his passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. 

A snakebitten career

Expectations were high when Brennan made his way to campus as a signature part of Ed Orgeron’s first full recruiting class in Baton Rouge. Ranked as the No. 4 pro-style passer by 247Sports, Brennan threw for more than 15,000 yards at St. Stanislaus, a high school about an hour from New Orleans. He waited in line behind Burrow before getting his chance, but suffered a brutal abdominal injury during his third start during the pandemic-shortened season. 

Incredibly, his 2021 injury — a broken arm as a result of a freak accident while fishing — was even unluckier. He entered the transfer portal for a period in November, but ultimately returned to campus after the coaching change from Orgeron to Kelly. 

Brennan showed real promise, completing 60.2% of his passes for 1,712 yards passing and 13 touchdowns in 20 career games. He was incredible in his first three games for the Tigers in 2020, throwing for 1,112 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, the hit he took against Missouri that injured his midsection ended up as the last play of his football career. 

An uneasy competition

LSU’s quarterback play has been a mixed bag since Burrow led the Tigers to the national championship in 2019. After Brennan’s injury, LSU had to throw freshman Max Johnson to the wolves to close out the 2020 season. He played much better during a breakout year in 2021, but opted to transfer to division rival Texas A&M instead. 

Now, LSU has to choose from a pair of quarterbacks who have never started in the SEC. Daniels took a step as a junior at Arizona State, completing 65.4% of his passes for rushing for 710 yards, but his 10-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio left plenty to be desired. He will have to speed up his processing time at LSU in order to make up for the challenge of playing against aggressive SEC West defensive backs. 

Nussmeier has more natural arm talent than Daniels, but made plenty of freshman mistakes. He was thrust into major action against Arkansas last season and threw a backbreaking interception that set up a game-winning field goal for the Hogs. Complicating matters is that Nussmeier missed the first scrimmage with an ankle injury. 

Entering his first season with the program, Kelly has a difficult decision ahead of him as he chooses between experience and potential. 

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