LSU's quarterback recruiting over the last six years has been tough to figure out. The staff can't seem to figure out whether they'd like a more traditional pocket passer or whether they want a quarterback who doubles as a runner. In 2007, they sign Jarrett Lee and then turn around and sign Jordan Jefferson in 2008. The next year, Chris Garrett and Russell Shepard are signed. Zach Lee was signed in 2010 even though he didn't make it out of fall camp. In 2011, the staff seemed to settle on the pocket passers, bringing in Zach Mettenberger and Stephen Rivers....only to have Jerrard Randle join the class later that summer. And then Jeremy Liggins was signed in 2012. By my count, that's five pocket passers and four dual threat guys.
I believe the truth is that LSU is just looking for good quarterbacks, regardless of what mold they fit. And I think that's exactly what played out in this class signing both Hayden Rettig and Anthony Jennings.
With last year's quarterback signee not making it to campus, LSU wanted two quarterbacks in this class, and they were able to pull it off with a couple of very good prospects. Landing either guy would have been considered a success, but to land both? It's a coup. Kudos to Les Miles, Steve Kragthorpe and the staff and kudos to both players, who did not shy away from the competition.
Current Verbal Commitments
Hayden Rettig - Rettig fits the mold of what you think of in a California quarterback. He's got good size at 6'3" 190 and a really big arm. In high school, he operated almost exclusively out of the shotgun in a spread passing attack and put up some pretty impressive numbers. As a senior, he completed 54% of his passes while throwing for 3,424 yards with 40 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. Rettig shows that he's capable of scanning the field and going through his progressions. He also shows off pretty good pocket presence and can feel the rush, slide out and still keep his eyes downfield and make a throw. His arm strength doesn't seem to suffer at all when he's throwing on the run. I wouldn't call him a running quarterback by any means, but he looks to have enough mobility to move well in the pocket and to scramble for a few yards if the opportunity is there. His delivery is a little long, but he's able to get away with that for now since his arm is so strong. He could stand to shorten up his delivery at the college level, but that's nit picking. To quote our head man, all of his throws look "crisp." The truth is that Rettig has all of the physical tools you could want in a quarterback prospect. He demonstrates that he's got the smarts. And he looks like he's comfortable in the pocket and has a feel for the position. Rettig is as good a prospect as LSU has signed since Ryan Perriloux.
Rivals: #5 QB, #73 overall 4 stars
247: #12 QB, #170 overall 4 stars
ESPN: #17 QB, #217 overall 4 stars
Scout: #19 QB, #230 overall 4 stars
Reminds Me Of: Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame, Class of 2007)
Anthony Jennings: Jennings represents the complete package at quarterback, showing off the ability to run the football but still displaying the capacity to pass the ball at a very high level. Don't mistake Jennings for a guy that makes his hay as a runner first. He can really put some steam on the football when he sets his feet, but his accuracy is what stands out the most. He was routinely praised for his short, compact delivery and for consistently putting the ball on target at the Elite 11 camp last summer. Jennings is the kind of guy that can really open up a playbook for an offensive staff. He can make all the throws, but he can also effectively run some zone-read. He can do some roll outs, some sprint outs, or even give you some traditional option looks. Whatever he may lack physically, which isn't much, he can make up for with his versatility. As a runner, he's not Mike Vick or Robert Griffin, but he's effective and can eat up some yardage. Jennings is listed at 6'2" 200, but he may be a tad shorter than that in reality, and that lack of height may be his only negative.
Rivals: #5 dual threat QB, #127 overall 4 stars
247: #16 QB 4 stars
ESPN: #8 dual threat QB, #221 overall 4 stars
Scout: #28 QB, #297 overall 4 stars
Reminds Me Of: Tahj Boyd (Clemson, Class of 2009)
What To Watch For On Signing Day
Nothing. Both guys are already enrolled at LSU and will participate in spring practice. What a relief.
With both guys on campus for spring ball, they'll immediately compete with Stephen Rivers for the backup quarterback position. Rivers obviously has the leg up since he has been in the program for two years, but it's not out of the question for one of these guys to make a move. Whoever wins the backup job for 2013 will get backup game reps, and that experience will go a long way into deciding the starter for 2014.