As LSU football transitions to the offseason, there will be significant chatter surrounding the quarterback room. With the Tigers returning Jayden Daniels, Garrett Nussmeier remaining with the program and Walker Howard looking to take that next step, this position group is loaded.
The 2022 season was one where Jayden Daniels took over with Garrett Nussmeier seeing action in select games.
Here we graded each quarterback and what’s to come:ADVERTISING
He has Pocket Awareness
The first few games of the season were challenging for Daniels. Incorrect reads and hasty decisions halted offensive success with many of the difficulties coming when Daniels would rush out of the pocket to make the “hero ball” play.
Fast forward to Week 8 against Ole Miss and it became a completely different story for the signal-caller. Daniels looked much calmer in the pocket while sitting back and allowing for plays to develop. There is credit to be given to him, but his offensive line helped carry much of the load as well.
While Daniels had been given time in the pocket, he made the correct reads down the field and escaped when needed. Tallying three rushing touchdowns against Florida and carrying that rushing success into the Ole Miss matchup, Daniels became much more aware in the pocket while making the accurate read.
Going Through Progressions
Another major challenge to start the season was Daniels’ inability to go through each progression and find the open wide receiver. This had certainly changed over the last few weeks for the better. We saw Daniels hit his third and even fourth read at times, specifically in the matchup against Florida where it all appeared to come together.
With a receiver room that played up to six guys a night, continuity formed and the Tigers made a late run to win the SEC West.
Utilizing his Dual-Threat Ability
The first few weeks of the season saw Daniels running for his life when given no time in the pocket for plays to develop. After eight weeks of growth, he began to put together masterpiece after masterpiece.
Yes, there were a few hiccups along the way, but Daniels proved he’s a true dual-threat quarterback, especially in the Tigers’ last few contests. Racking up 11 total touchdowns on the ground, he threw different looks at opposing defenses to keep them on their toes.
Offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock and Daniels are becoming the perfect fit for one another and it’ll certainly carry into 2023. A duo many believed could be lethal slowly proved to be one of the best in the country.
In the SEC Championship Game, LSU fans got a taste of what redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier is capable of. It wasn’t perfect, but the youngster showcased his dynamic game and what the future could look like.
Nussmeier broke the record for most passing yards in the second half of a game in LSU history with 298 against Georgia.
Head Coach Brian Kelly walked away impressed with what his “gunslinger” was capable of. Despite a few mishaps here and there, his aggressive style of play was a major takeaway.
“He did some really good things. He’s called upon to come in and be aggressive, which he was,” Kelly said. “For a guy that’s coming in off not playing a lot of football, really pleased.
“Look, there’s a learning experience out there. There’s some throws that obviously he’d like to have back. Look, he’s got a quarterback mentality that he wants to be aggressive. As Malik said, he’s pushing the ball down the field, giving these guys a chance to make some plays down the field, and they did. Sometimes there are plays where they’re 50/50 balls, but he gives them a chance to make some plays. He did a nice job with that.”
Nussmeier totaled 800 passing yards on 52 completions in 2022 with five touchdowns and four interceptions. It was a small sample size for the redshirt freshman, showcasing his elite arm at times, but decision making will ultimately be what needs to improve for the youngster as time goes on.
Walker Howard: N/A
Time will tell for Howard. A player this LSU program thinks the world of, he has no ceiling. With just four passes on the season, it’s best not to give him a grade just yet, but one thing is certain, Howard will take a leap this offseason.
In his first spring with the program, it was clear the growth he made from the first practice to the last. Now with a full season under his belt with a college plan, the sky’s the limit for the LSU legacy.