Scott had just rushed for 119 yards and four touchdowns and passed for another 121 yards in the 2013 Louisiana state playoff quarterfinals, but it was not enough to lift his Zachary High School team past Harris and Parkway. The 49-34 loss hit then-sophomore Scott hard, and All-State senior Harris was among the first players to console him.
“At the end of the game, I was on a knee while everybody was shaking hands and I was just crying my eyes out like I was a senior because it meant so much to me,” Scott recalled. “And he walked over and shook my hand and he told me, ‘Don’t cry, dude. You’re going to do great things.’”
That moment, and the 30-minute conversation that followed, was the beginning of a genuine friendship between the two quarterbacks that has spanned the last two-plus years, right up to when Harris attended the ceremony where Scott signed with LSU on Wednesday.
Scott -- who led Zachary to a state title as a senior by passing for 3,039 yards and 33 touchdowns and rushing for 1,963 yards and 28 scores -- knew he could count on his “older brother” to be in attendance whenever Zachary played a big game, and he expects the Tigers’ starting quarterback to become more of a mentor now that they will be members of the same team.
“When I got the offer, he hit me up and he said he’d be excited for me to be in the program. That meant a lot,” Scott said. “That was definitely a bonus when I decided to commit to LSU was that I’d be there with somebody that I know, somebody that’s been through college academically and athletically and knows how to weave in and out of his freshman year. So it’s going to be a good tool in my back pocket.”
It remains to be seen, however, whether that will be enough to help change the unflattering perception of the LSU quarterback position. Harris can certainly do his part this fall as he enters what could be his second season as the Tigers’ starter. Scott could eventually play an important role, too, although he’s not exactly a sure thing.
Nobody’s highlight footage drew louder applause than Scott’s when LSU coach Les Miles showed clips of each signee to fans at Wednesday’s “Bayou Bash” celebration in Baton Rouge. Scott, after all, is the state’s reigning Mr. Football and Gatorade Louisiana Football Player of the Year.
He’s also a 5-foot-11, three-star prospect who received an LSU scholarship offer only after the Tigers lost longtime quarterback commit Feleipe' Franks to Florida and then whiffed on a couple of alternative targets.
Franks -- who at 6-foot-6 possesses prototypical size and rated as the No. 65 overall prospect on the ESPN 300 -- could have been an early enrollee at LSU who participated in spring practice and competed with Harris and the Tigers’ other quarterbacks for a starting job. Instead, Scott will enroll this summer, missing out on those all-important springtime reps that might have helped him contend against more experienced players.
“Should we have a quarterback on our campus right now from this class already signed, wow, it might well have changed some things,” Miles said.
That hardly means LSU’s signing class was a failure. In fact, LSU signed one of the nation’s top classes by any measure.
With 19 ESPN 300 signees, LSU ranked third in ESPN’s class rankings and no lower than sixth with any major recruiting service. Yet even Miles said that adding a quarterback was a must for the class to become an all-around success.
“We need to have competition from the back side of the position group to push and I think that he will. I think Lindsey Scott will do exactly that,” Miles said. “I think certainly if he has skills that are different and better, then the ability to add them to that group is just what we need.”
Quarterback play has been up and down the last two seasons. Harris has impressive run-pass skills, and perhaps he will emerge as a more consistent performer if he claims the starting job again this fall. But quarterback play still ranks among the top question marks for a veteran LSU team that harbors championship aspirations in 2016.
Scott knows that a redshirting is a strong possibility this season and said he is willing to wait behind his friend and mentor. He promised, however, that he will be ready to compete if the opportunity arises.
A 5-11 quarterback might have to work harder than a player with the measurables that recruiters typically seek, so that’s exactly what Scott intends to do.
“One thing that you can’t measure is my work ethic,” Scott said. “You can ask my coaches and my players, there’s plenty of times that I’m just sitting in the film room studying, studying, studying or I’ll jump into some workouts.
“So my height will always be my height. It’s only a number to me and I think the only number that really counts is the number of wins that you get.”