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LSU Football 2023 Position Preview: Quarterbacks

Can Jayden Daniels seriously contend for the Heisman? Is Garrett Nussmeier ready for 2024?

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl - LSU v Purdue Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

This time last year the LSU quarterback room was maybe the single biggest question mark heading into year one of the Brian Kelly era.

Jayden Daniels transferred in from Arizona State, Myles Brennan took his name out of the portal, Garrett Nussmeier showed some flashes as a true freshman, and heir to the throne Walker Howard enrolled in January.

We saw what happened. Brennan retired from football; Daniels, thanks in large part to his mobility, got the starting gig and thank goodness he can run because LSU’s offensive line was rough in the beginning; Nuss got the most playing time of his young career while serving as Daniels’s backup, and Howard transferred following the bowl game.

One year later the quarterback room is still a strength but there’s no question marks here: Daniels is your guy in ‘23, and he’ll hand the reins to Nussmeier in ‘24.

2023 LSU Quarterbacks

Player Height/Weight Completions/Attempts Yards TDs/INTs Completion Percentage Yards Per Attempt Misc.
Player Height/Weight Completions/Attempts Yards TDs/INTs Completion Percentage Yards Per Attempt Misc.
5 Jayden Daniels (Sr.) 6'4"/205 266/388 2913 17/3 68.6 7.5 LSU's leading rusher in 2022: 885 yards and 11 TDs
10 Rickie Collins (Fr.) 6'2"/195 Four-star freshman
13 Garrett Nussmeier (Rs. Soph) 6'1"/202 52/84 800 5/4 61.9 9.5 7 Games Played, 0 Starts

Don’t look now, but Jayden Daniels is the top returning quarterback in the SEC and LSU’s got maybe the deepest QB room in the country. Daniels is getting legitimate Heisman buzz. According to our friends from DraftKings, Daniels is tied with Quinn Ewers and Jordan Travis for second-best Heisman odds (+1200) and if we get the Daniels we saw in the Florida, Ole Miss, and Alabama games all season long...I can see it.

To win a Heisman you have to have both numbers and moments, and Daniels will have ample opportunities to do both. Week 1 against Florida State, and November 4 at Alabama will likely be the two biggest stages LSU will be on this season, and if Daniels delivers in both don’t be surprised if he’s in New York come December.

But Daniels has to show us he can push the ball down the field through the air. He was risk-averse to a fault in 2022. Sure he only threw three interceptions, but I actually wish he would have taken more chances last season. Hopefully that improves in 2023 because LSU will always have future pros at wide receiver (and now it looks like tight end!) and Daniels will need to trust his playmakers to make plays.

While Daniels is QB1, Nussmeier is the heir apparent to take the job in 2024. Those are Daniels words, not mine.

“After this year, it’ll be his turn to go in there and light things up. I can’t wait to see that. I’m proud of him and how he’s handled things.”

Jayden Daniels, speaking to On3 Sports

Nuss showed off that tantalizing arm talent against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Coming on in relief of a hobbled Daniels, Nuss threw for just a hair under 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Arm strength has never been the question with Nuss, in fact he’s got maybe the strongest arm in the entire country. But his confidence in that absurdly strong arm also leads to...shall we say some questionable throws. Nuss has seven touchdowns in his career versus six interceptions and a near 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio just won’t do. What if Daniels gets dinged like he did toward the end of last season? Can you trust Nussmeier to make a jaw-dropping 65-yard bomb to win the game coming off the bench? Sure. But is it equally likely he’ll throw a backbreaking pick? I’s a coin flip, right?

True freshman Rickie Collins is also on the roster, waiting in the wings. Is he the future of the LSU quarterback room? Maybe, but if he is we won’t see him take meaningful snaps until 2025 at the earliest.

Here’s the ideal 2023 storybook: Daniels stays healthy all season long and puts up Heisman-worthy numbers; Nussmeier gets to spend the whole time preparing to take the reigns in 2024, and Collins maybe gets some run in the games against Grambling, Army, and Georgia State.