College football programs develop reputations over time. Some are known for a certain brand of play. Some are known for their illustrious history. Some are known for producing talent at a specific position.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the LSU Tigers are known for their impeccable atmosphere, their fans’ passion and their defensive backs. They’re also famously known for their up-and-down quarterback play. The missing piece of every great LSU team always seems to be the signal caller. Don’t get me wrong, LSU has had some greats like Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn, Matt Mauck, Bert Jones and Zach Mettenberger. The other side of the spectrum is where LSU has earned its reputation.
These guys don’t bleed purple and gold any less than their Tiger counterparts. They just couldn’t find a rhythm or take care of the ball. Let’s take a look at the guys who couldn’t quite figure it out during their time under the lights at Death Valley.
The 5 Worst Quarterbacks in LSU History
5. Jarrett Lee
Jarrett Lee wasn’t ready to take over as LSU’s starting quarterback in 2008. The team was fresh off a national championship and Ryan Perrilloux, the projected starter, was dismissed from the team before the season started. Sophomore Andrew Hatch assumed the role and suffered an injury three games in. Lee was suddenly thrust into the starting job.
He threw for 1,873 yards and 14 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. Yes, he threw the ball to a guy not wearing Tiger colors 16 times. Six of those were returned for touchdowns. Jordan Jefferson took over the next two seasons until he was suspended for the first four games of 2011. Lee took over again and didn’t have to do anything spectacular thanks to an incredible LSU defense. He didn’t and eventually relinquished the job back to Jefferson.
Lee may have a national championship had he been 20 percent sharper that year, and his mistakes would’ve been completely absolved.
4. David Woodley
David Woodley was the last quarterback of the 17-year Charles McClendon era. He split a lot of playing time with Steve Ensminger, who wasn’t exactly thriving himself. Woodley was the worse of the two.
In three seasons, the LSU QB never threw for more than 1,000 yards and accounted for only eight touchdowns to 15 interceptions. For all his flaws as a passer, Woodley ran for 829 yards and 15 touchdowns. He went on lead the Miami Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII but eventually lost his job to some guy named Dan Marino.
3. Josh Booty
Josh Booty probably should’ve stuck to baseball. He played four years of pro ball after being selected fifth overall in the 1994 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins. He joined the LSU football team in 1999.
Booty beat out future NFL Draft picks Craig Nall and Rohan Davey for the starting job. However, he threw an ugly seven touchdowns to 19 interceptions and the Tigers went 3-8. Head coach Greg DiNardo was fired at the end of the year and replaced by Nick Saban.
Booty completed only 49.3 percent of his passes in his two seasons on campus.
2. Chad Loup
The early- to mid-1990s were a rough era for LSU football. It all started under Chad Loup. Loup never held onto the starting job for a full season but he did start at least five games every year of his college career. He threw for 15 touchdowns against 19 interceptions in four years. Not great.
The Tigers never had a winning season while Loup was on campus, going 17-27 including an abysmal 2-9 in 1992. Miraculously, Loup lost his job to a guy who was even worse.
1. Jamie Howard
LSU quarterback Jamie Howard decided to uphold his NCAA football commitment even after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves as a pitcher in the 1992 MLB Draft. Tiger fans were looking to move off Loup, and here came this young freshman with a rocket arm.
Howard beat out Loup for the starting job in 1992. Like Loup, he could never secure it. Howard is best known for cracking under pressure in big moments. LSU fans would love to cleanse his five fourth-quarter interceptions against Auburn in 1994 from their minds. It doesn’t help that three of those picks were returned for touchdowns and part of a 16-point meltdown. Howard thew a school-record 47 interceptions over the course of his career.
That being said, Howard has a place in LSU history as the program’s fifth-leading passer with 6,158 yards.