For years, LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has mentored Danny Etling.
Now, he’ll be coaching him.
Etling, a former Purdue quarterback who visited campus last weekend, is transferring to LSU and will be eligible in 2016. The school announced Monday that they had received Etling’s signed papers. In keeping with NCAA transfer rules, Etling must sit out the 2015 season.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound sophomore has two years of eligibility remaining and will burn his redhisrt while sitting out. He will enroll in classes in the fall and is allowed to practice with the team this season.
That’s where he’ll begin his pursuit of LSU’s starting quarterback gig, and Etling’s former high school coach believes he’ll have a good shot to take the job.
“He’s going to have an opportunity to compete next season,” said Mark Raetz, the head coach at South Vigo High in Terre Haute, Indiana. “There are not going to be guys who outwork him. He’s going to put himself in position to play. I don’t have any doubt he’ll do that. I would expect him to do that come the spring.”
Etling is a former four-star recruit who started the final seven games of his freshman season in 2013 and then the first five games of last season before losing the job. The Boilermakers went 2-10 in the games Etling started.
In 13 career games, Etling was 238-of-429 (55 percent) for 2,490 yards, 16 touchdowns passes and 12 interceptions.
Etling was listed as a pro-style QB out of high school, but he’s a player who has some mobility, too, Raetz said. His specialty, though, is throwing out of the pocket, the coach said.
“Teammates love him. He’s a team first type of guy. He can throw the ball well,” Raetz said. “Big kid. Big legs. He can make about any throw you want.”
Etling is from Terre Haute, Indiana, and graduated from South Vigo, the same high school Cameron attended. Cameron has mentored Etling from the start, Raetz said. Etling and Cameron’s relationship “goes back a while,” Raetz said.
Cameron hooked up Etling with quarterback guru George Whitfield.
“Cam has come back in town and worked with Danny, and Danny went out and worked with Cam when he worked for the (Baltimore) Ravens,” Raetz said. “It’s pretty exciting they’re going to work together.”
Raetz described Etling as a “straight-A” student and a guy who spends hours in the film room to get what he wants — a starting job.
“He played well enough to start at Purdue as a true freshman,” Raetz said.
Etling is another name in LSU’s murky quarterback situation.
The Tigers had one of the nation’s worst passing offenses last season with Anthony Jennings starting all but one game. Jennings and rising sophomore Brandon Harris are competing for the starting job for a second straight year. The only other scholarship QB on the roster is freshman Justin McMillan.
Jennings is currently under suspension after his arrest on a charge of unauthorized entry into a dwelling. His status has not changed as of Monday, team spokesman Michael Bonnette said.
Etling will join what’s shaping up to be a full LSU quarterback group for 2016. Jennings, Harris and McMillan could still be on the roster along with 2016 QB signee Feleipe Franks, the No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class.
Etling was highly regarded out of high school in 2013 as well, but his only offers came from Colorado, Iowa and Purdue, according to Rivals.com. He was a mid-year enrollee at Purdue.
Raetz said Etling has improved his footwork over the last several years, becoming a more mobile quarterback — something Cameron clearly wants in his offense. Hayden Rettig and Phillip Rivers transferred out of LSU last summer. Both pro-style players have said they transferred because the Tigers were leaning toward a more dual-threat option at QB.
“He’s not going to be running the 100 meter in track meets, but he’s gotten a lot more mobile,” Raetz said.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.