Former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger is on his way back to the Southeastern Conference.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound freshman, who was dismissed by the Bulldogs after an arrest last spring, committed to LSU on Monday following a highly-productive season at Butler County Community College in Kansas. Mettenberger completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,678 yards and 32 touchdowns.
“It’s the best conference in America, and I want to compete against the best,” Mettenberger told TigerSportsDigest.com.
Butler lost to Navarro — led by former Bulldog Toby Jackson — 13-12 in the junior college national championship game in Pittsburg, Kan., on Sunday. According to several published reports, Mettenberger actually committed to the Tigers on his Nov. 20th official visit to Baton Rouge but he wanted to keep it a secret until the Grizzlies completed their season.
“I wanted to put all my energy into helping the team win,” said Mettenberger, who graduated from Oconee County High School in Watkinsville. “We didn’t have the season we had hoped for because we didn’t win it all, but my teammates were all great guys and it proved to be a really good experience for me.”
The Tigers return a pair of rising seniors at quarterback, Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. But the two combined for just six passing touchdowns this season. Mettenberger, a midseason enrollee who will join LSU for its Cotton Bowl practices, said he hopes to win the starting job for next season.
“The opportunity is there,” he said. “I’ll have a few seasons to play once I get there, but I’d like to start seeing the field right away. I am going to come in and compete for the starting job, just like I would have somewhere else.”
Georgia picks up the Tigers on its schedule in 2013, so Mettenberger will have the opportunity to face his old team his senior season in Baton Rouge.
Mettenberger, whose mother Tammy Mettenberger is a longtime administrative assistant in the UGA football office, was kicked off the Bulldogs’ team by head coach Mark Richt last April following his arrest in the South Georgia town off Remerton during spring break. A month later, Mettenberger plead guilty to counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. He was sentenced under the Georgia First Offender Act to 12 months probation, 80 hours of community service, fined $2,000 and banished from Valdosta for a year. Several alcohol-related charges were dismissed in the plea agreement.
Mettenberger had finished No. 2 behind fellow redshirt freshman Aaron Murray in the Bulldogs’ quarterback competition last spring.
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