Updated: Jun 14, 2021
MAX JOHNSON (QB)
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Showing off long range passing improvement & ubiquitous hard charging command in the backfield throughout Spring ball, Max's swagger currently extends to his precise timing and quarterback to receiver relationship status with Kayshon Boutte, Koy Moore, Jontre Kirklin or running back Ty Davis-Price (among a slew of others).
It geauxs without saying but I'm gonna say it:
Maximus Johnson has both hands on the Tigers' starting QB position...and he doesn't look like he's letting geaux.
And he's earned it through his Spring evolution, throwing a more precise deep ball, controlling a smooth to extremely aggressive tempo philosophy under OC Jake Peetz with strong execution, and becoming one of the most loved & respected Tigers amongst the team.
But of course, we must geaux back to understand what's just around the corner:
Last year, Max Johnson burst on to the national scene late, catching the eye of mainstream SEC media when he was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after torching #6 Florida during his starting debut.
But he didn't stop there.
As an early enrollee in January 2019, Johnson learned from Burrow's desire and mentality over the course of 2019's postseason practices, adapting the same "by hell or high water" vibe as Joe:
Coach O invited both TJ Finley and Max early to participate in those National Championship team practices for one obvious reason: Joe's example.
This foresight may have helped keep Coach O off the hot seat:
In the final week of the cataclysmic season against Ole Miss, the job wasn't done:
LSU had to finish at 5-5....it was the perfect moment for a freshman quarterback to go out there and put up some numbers, show a lot of heart, and still get crushed due to turnovers, inexperience..... the whole gauntlet.
Instead, we witnessed poise, calm, confidence under pressure...all as LSU's football program stared down the barrel of a long, hellish off-season....
Max Johnson wasn't having any of that...and his "Who The Hell is Florida?" mentality grew infectious vs the Gators....underlined by his full-throated celebration when lofting a beautiful opening TD pass to Jaray Jenkins.
As an encore, Johnson followed up his stunning arrival inside the Swamp by unloading a 435 yard air raid upon Ole Miss, chucking 27 completions, 3 TD passes for a 140.1 QBR through a raging deluge.
Max's chill vibe & his potent playmaking on critical downs saved LSU's 2020 season, finishing with only 1 turnover and a 134.8 QBR on the year, keeping his Head Coach away from further criticism.
The strength of these spirited "Louisiana vs the World" performances also persuaded numerous veterans to return for a second senior year.... kickstarting the Tigers' chances at competing for a championship this season.
Johnson's play extension, his dual threat capacity, quick decision making & professional quarterback education supply the former Oconee High star with the right establishment for his always improving passing range and Burrow-esque demeanor.
Also worth noting:
Max's skills are tailor made for a Jake Peetz-designed offensive stew; plus, the LSU offensive coordinator is already a big fan of the second year quarterback (and his younger brother Jake).
While the Tigers QB became recognized for his two miraculous starts as well as his striking resemblance to his father, his freshman year was so much more than his final stats:
Not only was he 6/7 on 4th down opportunities, throwing 2 touchdown strikes to Kayshon Boutte and rushing for another score, @ Florida Johnson also tossed a lead-taking 3rd down touchdown screen to former Tiger Tre Bradford. Though the sample size may be smaller, when you look at the full numbers, he's already been more statistically clutch than any other freshman Tigers quarterback in our history:
In 5 drives vs A&M, Max threw 8 of Terrace Marshall's 10 catches...before, TJ Finley completed only 2 passes to Terrace through 10 drives...
When he mopped up vs Auburn, he saved LSU from an embarrassing shutout by throwing 10 passes over 9+ yards to 7 different receivers, finishing with 9 first downs, a pair of 3rd down completions, and a key 4th down passing conversion.
Against Alabama, cleaning up again, Max completed his first 5 throws to 4 different receivers, absolutely dealing out there and sending Saban into a late game tizzy.
After a year under his belt, an undefeated 2-0 record as a starter, self confidence at its apex, outside support at its peak, the team appearing to fully buy into the idea of #14 as their quarterback, 2021 looks to be a season where the college football world finally begins to understand the explosive greatness within Maximus Johnson.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: LET'S GEAUX MAXIMUS. I think you're our best chance to win on every down.
And you know you are. LET'S GEAUX WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP!