Les Miles once called Brandon Harris "a future" for LSU at the quarterback position.
Turns out, Harris' career is ending like so many of Miles' other quarterbacks: not at LSU.
Harris, a rising senior from Bossier City, announced Monday that he plans to transfer, ending the once highly touted prospect's tenure at the school without reaching those lofty expectation levels.
Harris plans to graduate in May or over the summer, making him immediately eligible to play next season at a major conference program. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
Harris, considered a top-5 dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 signing class, started 15 games during his career in Baton Rouge and served as the Tigers' starting quarterback for the 2015 season. He lost his job to Purdue transfer Danny Etling in Game 2 last season.
In the short term, Brandon Harris’ decision Monday to transfer away from LSU after he graduates in May can be construed as a good thing.
Harris announced the decision in a tweet, writing that he's been given his full release from coach Ed Orgeron.
Statement regarding my future. pic.twitter.com/xNa3MkPXcw— Brandon Harris (@B6Harris) February 13, 2017
Harris' impending departure removes one competitor from what offensive coordinator Matt Canada calls a "wide open" battle this spring for the starting job. Etling, a senior, redshirt sophomore Justin McMillan, redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott and true freshman Lowell Narcisse, a midyear enrollee, are expected to compete in the spring. Mississippi quarterback Myles Brennan is set to arrive over the summer, giving the Tigers five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
Harris' transfer isn't so surprising, but the timing of it is. Harris told fans in a question-and-answer segment on Twitter late last year that he didn't plan to transfer. When he remained at LSU to start the second semester, many took it as a sign that the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder would at least participate in spring football practice before potentially leaving.
He joins a lengthy list of quarterbacks who never completed their careers at LSU at the position under Miles. Miles signed 18 quarterbacks over 12 signing classes. Three of them completed their careers at the school. A dozen of them were dismissed, transferred or switched positions.
Harris' tenure at LSU was marked with highs and lows. He was hotly recruited, choosing the Tigers over Auburn and Ohio State, along with dozens of other offers. Miles even once referred to the quarterback as the program's "future" at the position, and Harris enrolled in the midyear in January 2014.
With the announcement that LSU redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott of Zachary is transferring, h…
He beat out Jennings the next fall, starting all 12 games for LSU in leading the Tigers to a 9-3 mark in 2015 and a Texas Bowl win over Texas Tech. Harris struggled at times that season, never able to fit into Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's pro-style system. He completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 180.4 yards a game, with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
LSU began the 2016 season with high hopes that Harris could make significant strides as a junior. The Tigers entered the season ranked No. 5 in The Associated Press preseason poll and with the favorite for the Heisman Trophy in running back Leonard Fournette.
Fournette sprained his ankle in two places during the second week of preseason camp, and LSU limped to a 16-14 loss in the season opener against Wisconsin at Lambeau Field. Harris went 12 for 21 for 131 yards, was sacked twice and threw a game-securing interception in the final minute with LSU in position to kick a go-ahead field goal.
He struggled the next week in the first quarter of a game against Jacksonville State, a performance that elicited a resounding chorus of boos from the Tiger Stadium crowd. Miles yanked him for Etling. Harris saw spot duty in games against Auburn and Missouri, the fourth and fifth games of the season. He did not play again.
Coaches, teammates and others often lauded Harris' talent. He has an innate ability to spin the ball in a tight spiral, and he showed off his powerful arm as early as his first spring game with the Tigers in 2014, impressing thousands of fans on hand.
The talent, though, never materialized in an offense that predominantly leaned on the run. And despite packing on more than 30 pounds since his rookie year, Harris never developed into a serious running threat.
Miles suggested over the years that Harris' knowledge of the offense affected the quarterback's play. The coach praised Harris for his play during practice and scrimmages, but he had a hard time explaining his performance on Saturdays.
Harris' former high school coach at Parkway, David Feaster, has often aired his grievances about how Miles used Harris. In an interview with The Advocate less than two weeks ago, Feaster called the "treatment" of Harris "an issue" and said he's spoken to LSU's new staff about it.
“They all know we’ve been watching closely for three years about how Brandon (Harris) has been treated. They know it’s an issue,” Feaster said. “It’s something they’d like to resolve or work around because we’re going to continue to have players LSU wants. … The way Brandon has been treated at LSU is going to have a huge effect on the recruitment of Parkway players and players around here.”
QB AND OUT
Brandon Harris becomes another LSU quarterback to leave before the completion of his career, a serious issue among those quarterbacks who former coach Les Miles signed.
Signing classes: 12
Quarterbacks signed: 18
Completed career at LSU: 3* (italicized below)
Dismissed, departed, switched position: 12
Didn't play a down/attempt a pass at LSU: 7
* Does not include Danny Etling, Lindsey Scott, Justin McMillan, who remain on the roster.
- Ryan Perrilloux
- Jarrett Lee
- Andrew Hatch
- Jordan Jefferson
- Russell Sheppard
- Chris Garrett
- Zach Lee
- Zach Mettenberger
- Jerrard Randall
- Stephen Rivers
- Jeremy Liggins
- Rob Bolden
- Anthony Jennings
- Hayden Rettig
- Brandon Harris
- Justin McMillan
- Danny Etling
- Lindsey Scott