Summer Session: QB Depth

TSD is cranking out 30 stories on the 2014 Tigers in the coming weeks. Today's Summer Session: How is LSU's depth at quarterback shaping up given recent developments?

30 days, 30 topics inside the world of LSU football.

TSD is previewing and analyzing the 2014 edition of the Tigers from every angle, bringing you a daily dose of "Summer Session" each weekday through June 11, three days before the unofficial kickoff to football season at SEC Media Days.


Our first two installments, today's and tomorrow's, will be reactionary to breaking news from this past weekend. The Tigers learned Saturday evening that quarterback Hayden Rettig will seek a transfer, opting not to return for his redshirt freshman season in Baton Rouge.

Rettig's announcement comes almost two months after redshirt junior Stephen Rivers made public his intentions to transfer.

Where does all this leave LSU under center?

With two reserve signal callers – both top-35 QBs nationwide in their respective signing classes – departed, the Tigers are short-handed in terms of overall quarterback numbers but still replete with talent and youth, having retained the front-running duo of Brandon Harris, a true freshman, and Anthony Jennings, a sophomore.

Harris and Jennings will compete for the starting job this August in Fall Camp, and it's my estimation that Harris is the current leader in the clubhouse and will be difficult to supplant barring injury. The possibility remains that both could play in the team's season opener versus Wisconsin, according to coach Les Miles last week at the SEC Meetings in Destin.

After that duo, the only two scholarship quarterbacks remaining on the roster, LSU would almost certainly turn to converted wide receiver Rob Bolden as the emergency quarterback. Bolden, a Penn State transfer buried deep in the Tigers' QB depth chart the past two seasons, worked in spring ball solely at wide receiver.

During his two seasons as a Nittany Lion, Bolden, who played more often and better as a true freshman than sophomore, completed 165 of 328 passes (50.3%) for 2,045 yards, seven touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if offensive coordinator Cam Cameron moved Bolden back to quarterback this fall, bolstering his numbers at quarterback and also bearing in mind that four true freshmen (D.J. Chark, Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn and Tony Upchurch) are joining the mix at receiver this summer, giving that corps plenty of bodies.

Cameron also has a trio of walk-on quarterbacks to choose from in a pinch – sophomore transfer Brandon Bergeron (6-2, 187), redshirt freshman Jake Clise (6-2, 202) and junior Brad Kragthorpe (6-0, 177).

Bergeron, a former standout at St. Thomas More, is chief among them. He actually has a year of college experience under his belt, having played at Highland Community College (KS) a season ago. While on the JuCo circuit, Bergeron dazzled, leading his conference in completion percentage (70.4%) and ranking in the top five quarterbacks in completions (282), attempts (399) and yards per game (297.8).

So, to summarize, LSU is likely to enter 2014 with a depth chart that flows: Harris – Jennings – Bolden – Bergeron. It'll be enough to get the Tigers by, save a rash of injuries, in a rebuilding year offensively, but one glance at that rundown puts a premium on quarterback recruiting.

That'll have to be another story for another day, but suffice it to say that LSU can't afford another defection, meaning Cameron & Co. will have to work their hardest to ensure the loser of the Harris/Jennings battle doesn't take a cue from Rettig and Rivers.

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