LSU's Move for a QB

LSU needs at least one more quarterback in the 2011 class, and sights are currently set on former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who is now at Butler Community College in Kansas. caught up with the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder to talk about his coming visits and relationship with the LSU staff.

Those around the Georgia campus said that Zach Mettenberger had pressed starting quarterback Aaron Murray enough last spring to possibly earn the top spot come fall.

When he parted ways with Athens, the Watkinsville, Ga. native headed West.

Now at Butler Community College, Mettenberger hasn’t missed a beat.

Through eight games his team remains perfect, and Mettenberger has been nearly just as flawless. On the season he has completed 109-of-190 passes for 1,820 yards, passed for 23 touchdowns and given up just three interceptions. In last week’s 38-26 win over No. 3 Coffeyville, he went for 194 yards and four touchdowns.

“I came out here trying to just stay focused and help this team win some games,” Mettenberger said. “That was the main goal. I didn’t want to go backwards with my production. There are some pretty talented guys out here on both sides of the ball, and that made the transition a little easier for me. I’m just trying to keep things heading in the right direction.”

College coaches have taken notice – again.

With redshirt freshman Chris Garrett’s departure over the summer coupled with freshman Zach Lee’s decision to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers during fall camp, the Tigers were in a bind, having only two scholarship quarterbacks on campus – both of which are juniors in eligibility.

The quick fix: Mettenberger, who – after time spent in an SEC camp and a Junior College - won’t be coming to Baton Rouge straight from the high school field. 

“The coaches say that I can come in and compete against those guys next year for playing time, and from there I would have a couple of seasons after they graduate,” said Mettenberger, who has three years to play three. “LSU was the first school to offer me a scholarship after I came out here to Butler. That was big for me. It showed me that I could get back into the SEC, and that was the conference I grew up wanting to be a part of.”

Mettenberger has since picked up offers from Arizona, Cincinnati and Troy.

“I haven’t thought a lot about the decision since I’m trying to stay focused on the season out here, but I set up a couple of visits and have stayed in contact every week with coaches from the schools interested,” he said. “I’m going to Texas A&M on Oct. 30, then LSU on Nov. 20 for the Ole Miss game. That could be my last visit.”

LSU recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson is recruiting Mettenberger to Baton Rouge, while head coach Les Miles has made certain to get his time in as well.

“We will talk for a while,” said Mettenberger of his conversations with Miles. “He’s a pretty cool coach, very down to earth. We can talk about whatever. He asks about my games and how people are treating me out here, and I’ll ask about how the team’s doing and stuff like that. It’s always easy going. I’d say we have a pretty good relationship.”

Perhaps Miles’ biggest selling point is the fact that LSU is the lone SEC team to have offered. Ole Miss showed interest, but Mettenberger said the Rebels have recently backed off.

“Coach (Houston) Nutt said they were looking for more of a dual-threat guy, so I don’t think they will be offering me a scholarship,” Mettenberger said.

“I would definitely like to get back to the SEC, and I see that opportunity at LSU. I’d also like a place where I can come in and compete and win a job, and coach Miles said that I’ll have that for me next spring if I commit.”

Mettenberger, whose decision must come in December so that he can enroll in the school of his choice by January, said that through his recent off-the-field struggles, the ultimate outcome would be one that reflects the welcoming environment of his selection.

“I just want to be in a place that accepts me and wants me to succeed,” Mettenberger said. “At one point I thought that place was Georgia, but I’ve had to move on and start a new search. As I talk with these coaches and take a couple of visits, that’s what’s on my mind. Am I ready to see if Baton Rouge has that? Absolutely.”

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