For four years LSU fans have been waiting on quarterback Myles Brennan to live up to the expectations that followed him since he arrived on campus in 2017 as one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the country.
Between 2017 and 2019, at a time when the Tigers were in desperate need of elite quarterback play, Brennan was beaten out by a pair of transfers from the Big Ten.
First it was former Purdue Boilermaker Danny Etling, who joined the Tigers with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on his resume. Etling was a decent quarterback, who didn’t turn the ball over, but no one would categorize him as a star.
Brennan got only 24 passing attempts during a season in which LSU went 9-4, and failed to score more than 21 points four times.
In the Summer of 2018, Burrow arrived from Ohio State. The three-year graduate transfer had only thrown 39 passes for the Buckeyes, so Brennan wasn’t at a clear disadvantage.
In hindsight, Burrow taking the starting job that year before leading LSU to its fourth national championship in 2019, seems like a no brainer. At the time, however, the world was told that there was a legitimate battle between the two.
Now, we know that really wasn’t the case. Burrow seized the mantle of leader from the moment he arrived on campus.
Brennan would end up redshirting the 2018 season and, even as the Tigers were setting nearly every offensive record in school, SEC, and NCAA history, Brennan rarely saw mop-up duty. For the season, 21 of his 40 passing attempts came in the first two games of the year.
Still, after serving a two-year apprenticeship under one of the most decorated players in college football history, Myles Brennan was considered the heir apparent after beating out freshmen TJ Finley and Max Johnson for the starting job in 2020.
Like every college athlete last year, Brennan had to feel the impact of COVID-19, both on and off of the field. But with the talent that LSU had returning, expectations remained high.
While the Tigers defense failed to offer much support, Myles took losses in two of his three starts before his season ended with an abdomen injury.
On the surface, his numbers looked good. Brennan completed 60.3% of his 131 passing attempts, for 1112 yards, 11 touchdowns, and three interceptions. However, two of the picks came in LSU’s 10-point loss to Mississippi State in the opener, and the offense, while prolific, didn’t look like the steamroller the world saw the year before.
In his absence, the team matured and both Finley and Johnson got their opportunities to lead the offense, albeit with mixed results. Finley has since transferred to Auburn, yet Johnson remains; ready to seize the job.
In his two starts to close the season, versus sixth-ranked Florida and Mississippi, Johnson was fantastic in leading the Tigers to 90 points and wins in both games.
In one season, Johnson has thrown only 51 fewer passes (150) than Brennan has (201) over his four seasons with the program.
Just as Brennan’s father, Owen, said to Crescent City Sports in 2018, the only thing Myles Brennan has on Max Johnson is “three years…on [him]. That’s it. I don’t think he has a huge upper hand.”
Sure, the possibility remains that if Max Johnson is named the starter, Brennan could transfer leaving only Garrett Nussmeier as a viable option should Johnson struggle.
That possibility shouldn’t determine this decision.
LSU is facing what will be a highly-scrutinized season for the program and its coach. Winning has to be the priority, and if even after all of the time invested in Myles Brennan, he doesn’t give the Tigers their best chance to win, Ed Orgeron has to be okay with that.