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LSU QB Max Johnson to enter transfer portal ahead of Texas Bowl

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  • Brad Johnson
    American football quarterback
  • Max Johnson
    American football quarterback

LSU will have a new starting quarterback in 2022.

Max Johnson tweeted Tuesday night that he's putting his name in the transfer portal. Johnson played in all 12 of LSU’s games in 2021 and was 225-of-373 passing for 2,814 yards and 27 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Johnson, the son of former NFL QB Brad Johnson, had one of the best games of his LSU career in the team’s win over Texas A&M on Nov. 27. He was 22-of-38 for 306 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers’ 27-24 win got the team to 6-6 and bowl eligible. LSU will play Kansas State in the Texas Bowl on Jan. 4.

With Johnson transferring, the Tigers will be without both him and coach Ed Orgeron. LSU will be coached by interim coach Brad Davis as the Tigers transition from Orgeron to Brian Kelly. Orgeron was informed that he would be fired at the end of the season during the 2021 campaign and LSU hired Kelly from Notre Dame to replace him.

Johnson's younger brother Jake plays tight end and was committed to LSU as part of its 2022 class. He said Tuesday night that he was decommitting from the school. 

LSU's search for a QB post-Burrow

One of Kelly's biggest tasks will be figuring out who his team's quarterback is in 2022. Johnson is the third quarterback to transfer from LSU since Joe Burrow led LSU's prolific offense on the way to an undefeated 2019 season. 

Myles Brennan — Burrow's backup in 2019 — opened the 2020 season as LSU's starter but played in just three games before he suffered a season-ending injury. Brennan then suffered a fractured left arm in a freak fishing accident this summer. That injury derailed his chances of playing at all in 2021 and Orgeron confirmed that Brennan would be transferring in early November.

After Brennan went down in 2020, both Johnson and TJ Finley saw playing time. Johnson played in six games and Finley played in five. Finley is now at Auburn and backed up Bo Nix for most of the season. He started the Iron Bowl against Alabama after Nix suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Mississippi State. 

With Brennan and Johnson transferring, the only QBs that remain on LSU’s roster are freshmen Matt O’Dowd, Garrett Nussmeier and Tavion Faulk. Nussmeier is the only QB of the three currently on scholarship and he’s already played in four games in 2021. If he plays in the Texas Bowl he’ll be over the redshirt game limit and the season will count against his eligibility.

Quarterback help will likely be on the way via the transfer portal ahead of the 2022 season and Kelly will assuredly be working hard to keep the commitment of 2022 QB Walker Howard. The Lafayette native is a five-star recruit and the No. 2 pro-style QB in the country. He’s been verbally committed to LSU since June of 2020.

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