Summer Top 50 - No. 25 Brandon Harris

After Anthony Jennings came off the board at No. 26 in TSD's summer countdown, his fellow quarterback combatant - Brandon Harris - is our pick at No. 25.

Because everyone loves to rank things, and because summer is the best time to argue and debate, TSD is spending the coming weeks through the end of July rolling out its top 50 LSU football players for the coming season.

Many are seasoned veterans and a select few are new to the roster, but all 50 Tigers figure to make an impact on the gridiron in 2015.

So we hope you enjoy this list, updated once each weekday and compiled by the TSD staff of Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua (who, naturally, had disagreements of their own along the way).

Today the countdown begins week six with its second quarterback in a row at No. 25, sophomore Brandon Harris.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM


To be frank there hasn't been a ton of cause for optimism at the quarterback position for LSU lately, at least not springing from play on the field. Where there was plenty of excitement was in the recruiting process that ended some 16 months ago, when LSU and new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron landed Harris, an established dual-threat quarterback who was the envy and pursuit of many teams around the country, most notably Auburn.

And, on numerous occasions when given opportunities, Harris (6-3, 188) flashed glimpses of that promise and brilliance during his true freshman season of 2014. He rescued Anthony Jennings from a nightmarish start to the New Mexico State game, en route to becoming the first LSU true frosh ever to throw for three touchdowns, and put a late-game scare into Mississippi State by quickly closing the gap of a blowout.

Even though he didn't play as much as many expected, or wanted, Harris did get in there for nine games as a first-year quarterback, starting once and playing in four SEC contests. That's pretty good experience for a young signal caller learning the ropes in college. He's also got the stronger arm and is more elusive with his feet than Jennings. There are reasons to be optimistic about Harris at quarterback this upcoming fall, but it's more than a little understandable if that 'O' word is preceded by cautiously.

STILL LEFT TO PROVE


To put it simply Harris must prove to LSU's coaching staff that he is what they thought he was when they signed him (and what the entire fan base and many in the media believe he is, too). Jennings not only set a low bar a season ago with his play; he's also given a window to Harris after getting arrested this offseason, leading to an indefinite suspension for Jennings.

Harris, from all accounts, hasn't gained any real separation from Jennings in practice. To overtake the Georgia native, Harris, who hails from Bossier City, will have to put on display a better command of the offense and understanding of what the other 10 players around him are doing on each play. Les Miles and Cameron want to see Harris develop mostly toward that end - accountability of the entire offense and less (which is to say no) improvisation.

If Harris can internalize all that information and strike a better chord with his offensive teammates, he'll not only have a chance to take over as the starter this season but could soar with a punishing running game behind him and talented receivers flanking him. There's a lot of "if" still in there, though. It's proving time. And no player on the team needs to capitalize on this period more than Harris.





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