LSU quarterback Myles Brennan will be one of the most closely watched players in college football this season.

He has one of the most difficult acts to follow in college football history as he succeeds Joe Burrow in the wake of Burrow’s record-shattering 2019 season that ended with the Tigers’ national championship.

Brennan will be on center stage when LSU opens the season Sept. 26 against Mississippi State in Tiger Stadium and figures to stay there all season.

But around the LSU team during preseason practice there is plenty of attention being paid to the guys competing to take whatever snaps Brennan might not take this season.

Brennan has never started a college game and has thrown just 70 passes as a Tiger, but his 3 seasons in the program represent the only college football experience among all the quarterbacks on the roster.

Max Johnson and TJ Finley are true freshmen and the only other scholarship quarterbacks on the LSU team.

The grizzled veteran among the backups would have been redshirt freshman Peter Parrish, but he recently transferred to Memphis after having been suspended from the team in March for a violation of team rules.

Finley, a 6-6, 250-pound 3-star recruit, was the highest-rated quarterback in Louisiana last year, playing at Ponchatoula High School less than an hour from the LSU campus.

He arrived in Baton Rouge in time to participate in practice before the Peach Bowl semifinals last December, so he had a head start.

Johnson, a 4-star QB, is a left-hander and son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson. He was the No. 10 pro-style QB in the 2020 class. Finley was No. 19.

Finley and Johnson would do well to approach their careers as LSU quarterbacks the way Brennan has approached his.

Like Finley and Johnson, Brennan arrived as a highly-regarded prospect. He was a 4-star recruit and No. 6-ranked pro-style QB in the 2017 class. He backed up Danny Etling as a freshman, redshirted after backing up Burrow 2 years ago and saw mop-up duty during Burrow’s Heisman Trophy-winning season last year.

During that time he has added some 40 pounds to a wiry 6-3 frame, but more important, he took full advantage of non-playing opportunities.

After learning behind Etling, he was in a crowded battle for the starting position 2 years ago before Burrow arrived as a graduate transfer from Ohio State with 2 years of eligibility remaining.

Burrow had a late start but won the starting position. Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse transferred rather than remaining as backups.

But Brennan stayed, choosing to build on rather than discard the time he had put in with the Tigers. Brennan recognized the opportunity he had behind Burrow even though it didn’t include much playing time.

Brennan shadowed Burrow for 2 years. He was at his side in meetings and they watched film together.

Of course, they were side by side at practice and Brennan noted the little ways in which Burrow demonstrated his leadership – whether it was the way he bounced back from a cheap shot against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2018 season or the way he ran first during post-practice sprints.

Brennan understood that developing as a quarterback and evolving as a team leader isn’t limited to taking snaps during games. It also includes opportunities throughout preseason camp, practice and meetings to soak up the ways, big and small, in which the starting quarterback shows how to handle that role and be a leader.

If all goes according to the Tigers’ plan, neither Finley nor Johnson will take meaningful snaps during the upcoming season.

But regardless of how the playing time evolves, both players have an opportunity to evolve the way Brennan has in preparation for the time that they might become the leader of the team.