Sophomore quarterback TJ Finley entered the NCAA Transfer Portal late Wednesday afternoon as first reported by Garland Gillen of Fox 8 New Orleans and Reggie Chatman of WBRZ.
Finley was in a four-way race to be LSU’s starting quarterback this upcoming season with senior Myles Brennan, fellow sophomore Max Johnson, and true freshman Garrett Nussmeier. Now that battle is down to three.
While all four quarterbacks got equal reps with the first team offense in spring practice, it became clear that the competition was mainly between Brennan and Johnson. Finley will be immediately eligible to play this year thanks to the one-time blanket waiver granted by the NCAA. In fact there’s a chance Finley stays in the conference. WBRZ’s Michael Cauble tweeted that Florida and Texas A&M have already been in contact with Finley’s family.
Don't be surprised to see him in the SEC, Texas A&M and Florida have already made contact with the family. https://t.co/K7VPXLgm0v— Michael Cauble (@Cauble) May 5, 2021
Frankly this isn’t the most surprising news. It always felt like a matter of when Finley would transfer not if. Brennan was the starting quarterback last year until his injury; Johnson came in the same class as Finley as the more highly touted prospect and went 2-0 as a starter, plus his younger brother Jake just committed to LSU’s 2022 class; and early enrollee freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier wasn’t going anywhere. That left Finley as the odd man out.
Coming out of Ponchatoula, Finley was the number one quarterback prospect in Louisiana. He was the first person to verbally commit to LSU’s 2020 recruiting class, pledging as a sophomore all the way back in 2018.
Finley enrolled early and wound up starting five games after Myles Brennan was lost for the 2020 season against Missouri. Finley dazzled in his first career start against South Carolina and engineered a late game-winning drive on the road against Arkansas.
But Finley also had moments where he struggled mightily. Finley got the start against Auburn, Alabama, and Texas A&M only to be replaced by Johnson in all three games. In those three games, Finley completed 46 percent of his passes ( 36 for 77) and threw four interceptions compared to one touchdown.
In five games Finley completed 57 percent of his passes for 941 yards including five touchdowns and five interceptions.