LSU still looking for its future QB


When Connor Mitch committed to South Carolina last week he became the second high-profile quarterback prospect with an LSU offer in the 2013 class to commit to another school after J.T. Barrett of Wichita Falls, Texas, committed to Ohio State April 18.

If this sounds like a familiar theme for LSU, perhaps it is.

While LSU has been among the elite programs in football recruiting in recent years, it has gone through a roller coaster ride trying to find quarterback prospects.

In 2010, the Tigers signed Zach Lee, a four-star signal caller from McKinney, Texas. But Lee was also a baseball star and when the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted him late in the first round and at the end of the summer, just before the start of August camp, offered him a $5.25 million-dollar signing bonus, it was an offer too good for Lee to refuse and he never donned the Purple and Gold.

In 2012, LSU received a commitment from four-star quarterback Gunner Kiel until the Indiana native listened to his mother's plea to stay close to home and instead enrolled at Notre Dame.

In both cases, LSU wound up doing just fine. After losing Kiel, LSU was able to land another four-star quarterback in Jeremy Liggins from Mississippi. LSU made up for the loss of Lee a year later by bringing in junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger -- who will be the starter this fall -- and a pair of high school quarterbacks in four-star prospect Jerrard Randall and Stephen Rivers.

But for once, LSU fans would love to see a year where it lands a commitment from a top quarterback early in the process and has that player stick with the school through signing day and all the way through to August camp.

A lot can change between now and February's signing day, but here are some of the targets we know about.

Riley Ferguson: The highest-rated quarterback showing an LSU offer, the North Carolina quarterback fits the description of what LSU likes. He's strong-armed, but also has a bit of mobility and has been described as a bit of a gun-slinger.

The No. 8-rated pocket passer on the ESPN 150 rankings, LSU would have to woo him over national and regional competition. North Carolina and Clemson are among the big names in his neck of the woods who have made offers to the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder. Notre Dame, Alabama, Michigan and Virginia Tech have also made their pitch.

Jeremy Johnson: A three-star quarterback showing an LSU offer, Johnson is bigger than Ferguson at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds and the scouting report says he also has a big arm. But he may be a bit behind Ferguson mechanically, which is why he's a three-star, and not a four-star prospect at this point.

Johnson is from Montgomery, Ala., and currently sports three major offers, all from SEC schools: LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss.

Others with interest: Cooper Bateman, a four-star pocket passer from Utah, reportedly has LSU among the schools he's seriously considering. If so, Bateman would be the highest-rated quarterback considering LSU. ... DeVante Kincade of Dallas Skyline is, unlike the two QBs with LSU offers, a multiple threat who can run. But he's small and stands just 6-feet tall. The good news is, if he doesn't pan out at quarterback, he's a good enough athlete to move, probably to wide receiver, much like a Russell Shepard. ... Cord Sandberg of Manatee, Fla., is a multi-threat player who runs and throws, but also can hit and play center field. That might be scary if LSU is going to maintain interest in him, but the Tigers' elite baseball program could be a selling point for the four-star quarterback.

State prospects?: Louisiana is generally a state where you can find major talent at any position. Lately, however, that hasn't been the case at quarterback.

LSU hasn't signed a Louisiana quarterback since Jordan Jefferson and it's not because they've been letting many get away. A state that has produced multiple Super Bowl winners like Terry Bradshaw, Doug Williams and the Manning brothers hasn't been producing much college talent under center.

If it's going to happen in 2013, it would be a surprise. There are some talented players in the state this year, like Tanner Lee of Jesuit High in New Orleans, Damian Williams of Rummel in Metairie and Brandon Bergeron of Lafayette's St. Thomas More.

While they may prove to be Division I players, so far there's no indication that any Louisiana quarterbacks have SEC-level offers.