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LSU QB Room: Who Will Stay & Who Will Leave

The LSU quarterback room is as deep and talented as ever, which is why it makes the pending decisions of its three scholarship quarterbacks from 2022 so substantial.

There’s a case to be made that Jayden DanielsGarrett NussmeierWalker Howard, and incoming committed freshman Rickie Collins are all on the roster by spring ball rolls around.

There are two big questions regarding this room. Does Daniels go pro, and do either of the young quarterbacks flirt with entering the transfer portal? The second question will likely be answered directly to the first, as the quarterback room is in a bit of limbo while Daniels decides whether to return.

The feeling heading into the season was that Daniels would be a one-year starter and then go pro as his athletic ability is a true asset to NFL clubs looking for quarterbacks who can move. No quarterback can move quite like Daniels, and there was indeed an improvement as a passer as 2022 progressed. But with the Tigers’ season having its ups and downs, the narrative did begin to even out on whether Daniels will head for the NFL.

This quarterback battle becomes a two-headed race between Nussmeier and Howard if he does. Should Daniels choose to return, the room suddenly becomes a numbers game. In this scenario, barring a dramatic improvement in either Nussmeier or Howard’s talents, it’s just hard to imagine Daniels not earning the nod in 2023 as the starter for LSU.

The staff loves both Nussmeier and Howard, but there are only so many years a quarterback can wait before the need to get on the field and showing some good game tape becomes a necessity. That’s not to say that Nussmeier or Howard can’t show that level of improvement and should both stick around through the spring.

Every LSU fan who watched the second half of the SEC championship game saw the unique arm talent that Nussmeier provides and the explosive potential that could be added to this offense in 2023. Another year of chemistry building for this offensive line, and you’d have to think whoever is behind center next season will also have a much more consistently clean pocket to operate.

Throw in the return of Kayshon Boutte to the receivers like Malik Nabers, Brian Thomas, and Chris Hilton who the Tigers hope to return, as well as the incoming freshman talent; there’s no telling what this offense could be capable of.

With so many quarterbacks in the transfer portal now, does it behoove a player like Nussmeier to wait until the spring session is over and reevaluate? Holding out until making any decision after the spring might make more sense for these young quarterbacks. Any other teams looking to add quarterback talent during the second transfer portal window in May would immediately be all over players with the talent in this Tigers’ quarterback room.

Talking with people around the situation, it doesn’t appear Howard is going anywhere in the immediate future. 

Another full spring in the system would be of great benefit to all of the quarterbacks in this room but what kind of conversations behind the scenes are being had between Brian Kelly, the coaching staff and these players is a fascinating question to ponder as well.

There’s only one quarterback who can be on the field at a time, and despite the immense talent in this room, there’s also the reality that some attrition will be required over the coming months.

In the end, these questions will answer themselves in due time, but there’s undoubtedly some anxiousness that comes with the waiting process. Regardless of what happens over the coming days and weeks, it’ll be hard not to be excited about the trajectory of this room.