Our numbers give slight edge to Harris in LSU QB battle

Neither of the Tigers' QBs excelled last season, but sophomore Brandon Harris flashed some upside in 2014.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Our numbers give slight edge to Harris in LSU QB battle

It seems like LSU has a starting quarterback battle every season, and this year it’s incumbent junior Anthony Jennings and sophomore Brandon Harris competing for the job.

Both QBs played in 2014, and both are highly touted dual-threat QBs who struggled as passers in 2014. Jennings finished the year with a 48.4 completion percentage, and Harris with 53.3 percent — neither can hope to win the job outright if they repeat that sort of performance.

Jennings has more experience in Cam Cameron’s offense, having 13 starts to Harris’ one. With just 45 passes to go on, the sample size is far too small to reliably judge Harris as a passer, but there were some positive signs. His 97.46 PFF QB Rating compared favorably to the 73.1 posted by Jennings — a difference that was largely due to the seven interceptions thrown by Jennings. Harris had a 3:1 ratio of very good to very bad throws, while Jennings was at 1:1.

However, we’d need to see many more snaps from Harris before we could be confident enough to say that these stats are representative, rather than a statistical quirk, and our grades do show that there is also real cause for concern. While Jennings graded out worse overall, Harris’ grade in his one start against Auburn was far worse than any performance posted by Jennings.

Harris was the more dynamic runner in 2014, and showed just enough as a freshman to suggest that he can eventually develop into a better passer. With neither QB player a safe option for LSU, those glimpses of potential may skew things in Harris’ favor.

| Analyst

Kevin has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, with a particular focus on college football.

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