Former LSU QB TJ Finley staying in SEC, chooses Auburn as transfer destination

·3 min read

TJ Finley is staying in the SEC.

The former LSU quarterback announced Monday that he will continue his college football career at Auburn. The Louisiana native started five games as a true freshman for LSU last season, but decided to transfer earlier this month with a path to playing time uncertain amid a crowded depth chart in Baton Rouge.

“Louisiana, you will always be my home. The opportunity to suit up for the purple and gold was a dream come true. LSU will always hold a special place in my heart,” Finley said in a video posted on his Twitter feed. “Thank you for the continued love and support. I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at Auburn. War Eagle.”

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Finley started 5 games in 2020 for LSU

Finley was one of three quarterbacks to start multiple games for LSU last season. Myles Brennan, Joe Burrow’s backup in 2018 and 2019, opened the season as the starter but suffered a season-ending injury during the third game of the year.

Brennan’s injury opened the door for Finley and Max Johnson, both freshmen, to see the field. Finley played in six games (five starts) and threw for 941 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 57% of his passes. During that span, Finley threw for 265 yards and two TDs in a win over South Carolina and led a game-winning touchdown drive on the road against Arkansas.

Johnson, though, ended up seeing more time as the season progressed and notably led LSU’s upset victory over No. 6 Florida. Johnson finished the year with 1,069 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception through the air.

Brennan, now healthy, and Johnson reportedly received the bulk of the first-team reps for LSU during spring practice. The Tigers also added four-star recruit Garrett Nussmeier as an early enrollee.

LSU quarterback TJ Finley (11) throws a pass during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
LSU quarterback TJ Finley (11) throws a pass during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Where does Finley fit at Auburn?

Finley becomes the fourth scholarship quarterback for Auburn, a team entering its first season under new head coach Bryan Harsin. Harsin, formerly of Boise State, inherits a two-year starter in Bo Nix. Nix, whose play was up-and-down under former coach Gus Malzahn, is entering his third year with the program.

Auburn also has Grant Loy, a senior who transferred in from Bowling Green, and Dematrius Davis, a four-star recruit in the class of 2021, on scholarship at the position.

Finley, who has four years of eligibility remaining, will presumably compete with Nix for the starting job. That is as long as the SEC passes its intraconference transfer rule as expected. That rule change, which is expected to be voted on next month, would allow players who transfer within the SEC to have immediate eligibility at their new school.

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