LSU Spring Football Outlook: Quarterbacks

Spring practice is the first real sign we’re moving away from 2023 and heading for the 2024 season.

At LSU, Brian Kelly is just a few weeks away from his third spring practice with the Tigers.

Throughout the spring, I’ll be taking a look at how LSU stacks up at every position. There’s still plenty to figure out at this point, some of which we’ll learn in the spring, but we know where LSU stands personnel-wise at these spots.

Today, we’ll start with the quarterback position. LSU likes what it has in Garrett Nussmeier, who sits seventh in preseason Heisman odds. But let’s take a look at what to expect from LSU’s new QB1 and the rest of the room.

QB1: Garrett Nussmeier

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

According to the On3 Industry Ranking, Nussmeier was a top 100 recruit in 2021.

He got his first real taste of action as a freshman when he entered in relief against Ole Miss before getting a significant chunk of playing time against Arkansas. Nussmeier struggled, posting a NFL passer rating of just 58.4 against the Razorbacks along with two interceptions.

He was a true freshman, and he wasn’t ready. But in 2022, after working with new quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan, Nussmeier started to show improvement.

LSU had a quarterback battle, which Jayden Daniels won. When Nussmeier got a chance, though, he made the most of it.

He threw for 294 yards in the SEC title against Georgia after Daniels left with an injury. He split time with Daniels in the bowl game, throwing for 173 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 attempts.

Nussmeier could have hit the portal at that point and ended up a starter, but he chose to return behind Daniels.

We didn’t see much of Nussmeier throughout 2023, but he got a chance to make his first career start when Daniels opted out of the bowl game.

He had his best game yet, nearly throwing for 400 yards while leading LSU on a 98-yard game-winning touchdown drive.

Despite the lack of starts, Nussmeier is seen as a veteran quarterback entering 2024. He’s a polished passer who can sling it and work all levels of the field. There are still accuracy issues at times, but he sees the field well and gets the ball out, which signals real development on his part.

LSU will benefit from having a clear QB1 throughout the spring and summer.

AJ Swann transfers in

(Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo/Getty Images)

LSU needed depth at the QB spot. Outside of Nussmeier, no QB on the roster had legitimate experience. LSU addressed it by adding transfer QB AJ Swann from Vanderbilt.

Swann has attempted nearly 400 passes over the last two years and started six games in 2023.

He struggled, but playing QB at Vanderbilt is a tough job. He showed improvement from 2022 to 2023 and working with Sloan could be just what he needs.

He wasn’t afraid to stretch the field last year. Only Jalen Milroe had a higher percentage of his passes travel 20 air yards or more in the SEC. That fits with LSU’s aggressive attack.

LSU will hope Nussmeier stays healthy, but if the depth is tested, Swann was a needed addition.

Does Rickie Collins take a jump?

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

LSU went after a few quarterbacks in the portal in the first cycle. That could signal the staff doesn’t believe Collins is ready to be QB2 yet, but this is the time to make a jump.

According to ESPN and 247Sports, Collins was a top 250 recruit in the class of 2023 and top 15 at his position. The talent is there, but he was raw as a recruit.

The 247Sports scouting report said Collins would need time to develop, but has the skills needed to be an “elite level player.”

Collins attempted just two passes as a freshmen, both coming against FCS opponent Grambling. If LSU finds itself on the right side of a few blowouts in 2024, maybe we get a better chance to see what Collins has.

After taking a redshirt, Collins has another year to comfortably develop. But this offseason could tell the staff what they’re working with here.

Colin Hurley joins the fold

Florida Times-Union
Florida Times-Union

LSU added a QB in its freshmen class, signing four-star Colin Hurley.

Hurley was originally a 2025 recruit before reclassifying to 2024. He took a hit in the recruiting rankings after that, but he was still a consensus blue-chip.

Hurley has legit arm talent and played varsity football since eighth grade, but due to his age, he’ll be raw too. It will be a couple of years (or more) before anything is expected of Hurley at the college level.


Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Few teams are positioned as well at QB than LSU is right now.

The Tigers have a guy they believe can be an elite starter with Nussmeier, a veteran backup with SEC experience, and two more scholarship QBs who have the talent to develop into SEC starters.

On top of that, LSU secured a commitment from Bryce Underwood, the top player and QB in the 2025 recruiting class.

With Sloan taking over as offensive coordinator, LSU holds on to one of the best QB coaches in the country.

There are still some unknowns because we haven’t seen Nussmeier start week to week, but I’ll give this room an A- grade right now.

Grade: A-

Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire