I always liked Anthony Jennings.
News today broke, officially, that Anthony Jennings will be transferring from LSU this summer to complete his collegiate career.
This isn't altogether surprising. Jennings will graduate and leave forever a Tiger. On National Signing Day, when asked about the QB situation, Miles mentioned Harris, Etling, McMillan and new signee Lindsey Scott without so much even a pause to mention Jennings. Last offseason, Miles spent most of the time praising Brandon Harris, despite the claims of a competition. Reality was, Jennings playing career was pretty well over after LSU's frustrating defeat to the Irish in the 2014 Music City Bowl.
Playing football is hard. Anthony Jennings is really good at it. Yeah, I know that's probably not how you feel after watching the 2014 season, but for Jennings to even stand a chance to play at this level means he's in the top 6.5% of ALL football players in the world. When he signed, I remained optimistic he could be a very good player. To this day, this piece remains one of my very favorite things I've ever written for this site.
I always thought Anthony Jennings had the chance to be something, if not something special. By the time he took the reigns in 2014, some glimmer of that hope died. The fresh-faced Brandon Harris coming on the scene didn't help it. The overwhelming sentiment remained it was just a matter of time before Harris took the ball and proverbially ran and threw with it. Just months after Jennings orchestrated a heroic 99-yard comeback drive and a bowl victory, college football chewed him up and spit him right back up. Jennings put together one of the single worst QB seasons in LSU history. The fact that he was never firmly benched proved to be the nexus of so much angst here and elsewhere.
It's a ruthless cycle. This is life. We all live this reality, just maybe not quite so publicly. One minute we stand proudly upon our accomplishments and the next minute we're drowning in a sea of seemingly unconquerable failures. So, I find it hard to run Jennings through the wringer, any more than has already been done, for failing to meet whatever absurd expectations I may have carried for him.
To see him leaving is an odd feeling. I vividly remember that Arkansas comeback and Wisconsin victory. For a glimmer it seemed like he may be becoming the type of QB LSU needs more than anything: a solid, steady hand. And then it's gone. You blink for one moment and hope turns to ashes. No one is going to write any anthologies about Jennings, but he will always have that drive...
In many ways Jennings is symbolic of why we should be grateful to be LSU fans. His unrealized greatness is a reminder that things are pretty swell in Baton Rouge, even if we aren't always at the top. Onward we go to finding our next hope... our next savior... our next Anthony Jennings.