This news is expected, but nevertheless not particularly welcomed. Per The Advocate in incredible depth and length:
Zach Mettenberger tells all three major national recruiting websites that he has committed to LSU.
Again, while expected, this is not very good news for Alabama or the rest of the SEC for that matter. Mettenberger will enroll early in Baton Rouge in the coming days and he will go through Cotton Bowl practice, the offseason S&C program, as well as spring practice. Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee will both be seniors next season, but I don't think there is any doubt whatsoever that the starting job belongs to Mettenberger.
You hate to overestimate the impact of an unproven JUCO transfer, but we've all seen what kind of an impact a new quarterback can make on a team, and while Mettenberger is no Cam Newton, by all accounts he looks to be very, very good. He's not going to be a dual-threat, but at 6'5 and 250 pounds he is basically the raw size of JaMarcus Russell, has the requisite cannon arm, he was a very highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, and looked to be beating out Aaron Murray for the starting job at Georgia before he was sent packing. Incidentally, Murray went on to complete 61% of his passes this year, averaged over nine yards per attempt, and threw for almost 3,000 yards to go along with 24 touchdowns, so the fact that Mettenberger was likely going to beat out a player of that caliber probably tells you something about his own ability. Throw in the fact that Mettenberger lit up the JUCO ranks in the interim, and I really see no reason to believe that he wouldn't play at a high level next season.
I hate to say it, but for LSU this is a gamechanger. The single greatest weakness that defined their entire program the past three years has been quarterback play, and now that looks to turn into a major strength. Suddenly, the entire offense looks completely different, and those nearly forgotten skill position players -- hello, Reuben Randle, Russell Shepard, how are you? -- look like major threats with a competent quarterback throwing them the ball. The line play has declined from their glory years, and this will do nothing to rectify that shortcoming, but even so this looks to be a much more dangerous team in 2011 than they have been in recent years. I would suggest our defense had better get it together this offseason unless they want to fall at the hands of LSU for a second year in a row.