Jontre Kirklin: Who is LSU’s starting QB for Texas Bowl?
Jontre Kirklin’s last time playing quarterback was in 2016 as he helped Lutcher (La.) High School to a state championship.
More than 5 years later, the LSU wide receiver will take his place behind center as the Tigers’ starting quarterback in the Texas Bowl vs. Kansas State.
It’s essentially an emergency move for the Tigers, who had 1 scholarship quarterback available in Garrett Nussmeier. Rather than insert the true freshman into his 5th game of the season and voiding his redshirt—which would be a moot point anyway should the highly-touted signal-caller exit for the professional ranks after the 2023 season—or calling on a walk-on, interim head coach Brad Davis will turn to a 5th-year senior wideout.
Here are 5 things to know about Jontre Kirklin:
Jontre Kirklin was a dynamic dual-threat player in high school
Kirklin certainly knew how to get it done with his arm at Lutcher High School: he posted 7,468 yards and 97 touchdowns through 52 games. In his senior year, he threw for 2,543 yards and 29 touchdowns.
He was just as at home running the football, if not better. As a senior, he had 197 attempts for 1,082 yards and 17 touchdowns. It was his 2nd-straight 1,000-yard rushing season.
Jontre Kirklin was a Top 25 recruit in the state of Louisiana
Kirklin was ranked the Bayou State’s No. 25 player in the class of 2017 by 247Sports’ Composite Rankings. He was also considered the No. 48 ATH in the country.
After being offered by LSU, Tulane, and FCS Nicholls, the choice was easy as he made the call for the Tigers.
Jontre Kirklin saw time in LSU’s defense early in his college career
Ed Orgeron opted to play Kirklin as a special teams contributor and a defensive player during the 2017 season. In 2018, he played on both sides of the ball, lining up at wide receiver and in the defensive backfield, making 1 catch for 5 yards and 6 yards on 2 carries.
During the national championship season of 2019, he was a reserve wide receiver, making 2 grabs for 75 yards. He also recorded 3 tackles as a special teams player, with 1 coming during the College Football Playoff National Championship win against Clemson.
Jontre Kirklin saw his role steadily increase in 2020
Despite the abbreviated COVID season of 2020, Kirklin carved out a bit of a larger role in the Tigers’ wide receiver corps.
In 9 games, he made 13 catches for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns. His 3-catch, 65-yard day against Vanderbilt on Oct. 3, 2020, saw him make the first 2 touchdown catches of his collegiate career.
He made at least 1 reception in every game he played in except one.
Jontre Kirklin was a sports administration major that graduated in December
The Texas Bowl will be the final game for Kirklin in a Tigers uniform. He has already graduated from the university with a degree in sports administration.
“It’s meant a lot to me and to my family to have experienced the progression that I’ve had on the field,” he told the official LSU athletics website in November. “From playing quarterback in high school to being recruited to play any position on the field – cornerback then to wide receiver, then back to cornerback, and to finish off my college career at wide receiver has been rewarding.”
Kirklin obviously didn’t foresee himself starting at quarterback in his final game, but he’ll certainly be looking to go out on a high note.