Danny Etling is one of just 10 LSU quarterbacks to throw for 4,000 yards in his career — one of just five to exceed 2,000 passing yards in consecutive seasons.
In two years as the Tigers starter, he threw 27 touchdowns and just seven picks. In fact, his attempt-to-interception ratio — 73-to-1 — is second only to Alabama’s AJ McCarron in Southeastern Conference history.
And, yet, as Etling prepares to play in the Tropical Bowl in Daytona Beach, FL, this Sunday, the Terre Haute, IN, native still has something left to prove in the eyes of talent evaluators at the next level. Despite Etling's prototypical size and a solid college resume, if the NFL Draft took place today, he’d be a relative long shot to hear his name called at all.
“My goal for this week is to allow scouts and everyone else in attendance to see me up close and personal — to show that I have the talent and intelligence to play at the next level, and to demonstrate that I understand football and pick up coaching very quickly,” Etling says.
“The Tropical Bowl provides an excellent venue to practice play and talk to NFL scouts. It’s another great opportunity to compete.”
In any case, Etling says he has no regrets. And, if you’re waiting for him to go on some rant about proving his "haters" wrong, well, you’ll be waiting a while.
“I'm most proud of continuing to prove my supporters right about me,” he says. “There are a lot of people who believe in me and what I can do, and every time I do well or continue to improve and get more opportunities, I feel as though I prove my supporters and myself right.”
Etling — who started 12 consecutive games for the Boilermakers from 2013-14 — has nothing but positive things to say about both Purdue and LSU, but he’s particularly attached to the Tigers.
“[Transferring to] LSU was one of the greatest decisions I've made in my life,” he says. “The people and support staff at both institutions I attended while in college were incredible, but as I've moved on to the next level — and throughout my playing career at LSU — the people in that building, from the trainers to the equipment staff, have been absolutely incredible.
“They treated me like family while I was playing and have continued to treat me as such even now that I'm moving on to the next level.”
Quarterback transfers are not uncommon in today’s college football climate, but Etling’s adjustment was an ongoing one, exacerbated by repeated offensive coordinator turnover. Etling didn't just handle the change in direction by his coaches. He often excelled in spite of it — a potential asset that is not lost on him.
“I can run any system,” he says. “I’ve learned four different playbooks in college and had four different coordinators in five years. So I feel as if I'm versatile and can fit with anything a coach wants me to do.”
In Etling’s final two games as a Tiger, he combined for 576 yards and five touchdowns against Texas A&M and Notre Dame, so it’s safe to say he’s trending towards a big day in Daytona Beach on Sunday.