Power ranking every QB LSU will face in 2019
The quarterback situations for LSU opponents this season basically fall into 2 polar-opposite categories.
The teams either have a returning starter who already has proven to be an outstanding player – Texas, Northwestern State, Utah State, Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M – or they have a preseason battle that has yet to be completed – Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas. Georgia Southern and Ole Miss are the exceptions for different reasons.
Here’s a ranking of the quarterbacks LSU will face this season.
No. 12 Shai Werts (Georgia Southern)
Skinny: Werts was involved in one of the strangest offseason stories. He was arrested after a traffic stop when police officers mistook bird poop for cocaine. Seriously. The school suspended him, but then reinstated him when charges were dropped. He missed a couple of practices, but the dual-threat QB is expected to be ready against LSU in the opener.
No. 11 Deuce Wallace/Riley Neal (Vanderbilt)
Skinny: Wallace is a redshirt junior who’s a dual-threat and has experience in the Commodores’ offense. He is coming off a suspension. Neal is a graduate transfer from Ball State who has more game experience. Coaches have described the competition as tight. Look for a starter to be named soon. Many anticipate Neal will get the nod.
No. 10 Shelton Eppler (Northwestern State)
Skinny: He threw 26 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions last season, twice throwing for a school-record 6 touchdowns.
No. 9 Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
Skinny: The redshirt freshman was ranked as the No. 4 pocket passer coming out of high school, but he’ll be asked to be more of a dual-threat in first-year coordinator Rich Rodriguez’s offense.
No. 8 Bo Nix (Auburn)
Skinny: After a heated fall camp battle, Gus Malzahn named Nix the starter. He’s a purer passer than Joey Gatewood and was rated the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the 2019 class.
No. 7 Ben Hicks/Nick Starkel (Arkansas)
Skinny: Which transfer will it be? Hicks passed for more than 9,000 yards and 71 touchdowns in 3 seasons at SMU (the first 2 playing for Hogs coach Chad Morris), but Starkel also is experienced, having been a starter at Texas A&M.
No. 6 Keytaon Thompson/Tommy Stevens (Mississippi State)
Skinny: Thompson backed up Nick Fitzgerald for 2 seasons and Stevens backed up Trace McSorley at Penn State, initially playing under Bulldogs coach Joe Moorhead when he was the Nittany Lions’ OC. Neither has a ton of game experience. Stevens is viewed as the better passer, but his sample size is small.
No. 5 Jordan Love (Utah State)
Skinny: The junior has started 19 games and is the Mountain West Conference Preseason Offensive Players of the Year. He has thrown for 40 touchdowns and been intercepted just 12 times.
No. 4 Feleipe Franks (Florida)
Skinny: The redshirt junior had a breakout season last year in Dan Mullen’s first season, combining for 31 TDs (24 passing, 7 rushing). Franks delivered the best QB performance since Tim Tebow left in 2009. He should be even better in Year 2 in Mullen’s system.
No. 3 Sam Ehlinger (Texas)
Skinny: He’s entering his junior season and already has 20 starts. The bruising dual-threat ran for 3 touchdowns in the Longhorns’ upset win over Georgia in last season’s Sugar Bowl.
No. 2 Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
Skinny: Much like Mullen’s influence on Franks, Jimbo Fisher orchestrated a breakout season (3,107 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes, nearly 500 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns) for Mond as a sophomore last season.
No. 1 Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
Skinny: Tagovailoa is one of the best players in the country and he was one of the keys to the Crimson Tide blowing out LSU (29-0) in Tiger Stadium last season. He passed for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns and added a 44-yard touchdown run. And, statistically, at least, LSU held him in check.