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AllSunDevils Pizza Review: The JD5 Pizza is Heisman Trophy Caliber

The phenom on the field also has a phenomenal pizza off the field.

When NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) laws received the green light for student-athletes in the state of Arizona, it was only a matter of time before top players at Arizona State took advantage of opportunities heading their way. 

Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels had plenty of those opportunities given his popularity, talents on the field and his marketability as an athlete. 

While Daniels waits to see where he will be drafted in the next few years, we do know one team that made Daniels their No. 1 pick: Venezia’s New York Style Pizzeria.

No. 1 Pick

While there was no podium or jersey for Daniels to hold, Venezia's was proud to announce Daniels' pizza partnership.

"Jayden will serve as a brand ambassador for Venezia’s Pizzeria on his social media during the 2021 football season. Jayden will also have his own specialty pizza on the menu at all five of the restaurant’s locations in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert and Mesa" said Venezia's.

Venezia's president Domenick Montanile says his team began exploring the possibility of partnering with Daniels immediately.

"Shortly after July 1st when the law went into effect, we reached out to him on social," said Montanile. "Renny Mitchell, my area manager, came into my office and asked if we should pursue Jayden Daniels since he is a top 10 Heisman Trophy candidate and is in our back yard. We brainstormed with our marketing team on possible options for social posts, and I thought since we had already had a pizza for the Phoenix Rising in the past, we should entertain the idea of him having his own pizza. 

"I did not imagine it would catch this much exposure as it has though but it really took off after Pac-12 media day when Brad Cesmat posed the question."

The "JD5 Pizza" is Daniels' own, self-designed pizza consisting of five different toppings: Extra cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon and sausage. 

"Jayden and his mom have been great to deal with," said Montanile. "We worked out the agreement, then (afterwards) they came over to our location in Tempe so we can take photos for social and he can come back in the kitchen to make his own pizza."

Jayden Daniels x Venezia's Pizzeria

"We left the pizza toppings up to him (Daniels) and just asked that he does not get too crazy on toppings so that it would sell," said Montanile. 

"He did go with some expensive toppings with the bacon, sausage and pepperoni, but people don’t seem to mind to pay more. It is a perfect selection of toppings with the pepperoni, sausage and mushroom, and to top it off with bacon and extra cheese is just amazing!"

Montanile said Venezia's currently has no plans for future endorsements. Daniels takes home a percentage of all JD5 pizza sales.

Passing the Eye Test

The time for talk and interviewing, for a brief time in my journalism career, was over. I broke my diet to dive into this pizza endeavor with little to no resistance from either my fiancé or my brother, who were happy to "have to eat pizza" this week. 

I made the trek to one of five Venezia's locations to pick up the pizza using online ordering. The staff was friendly and swift in getting my pizza ready for pickup. My one mistake? Not getting wings, although that does give room for a potential wing review down the road. 

Presentation before even opening the box? Check. A white box with a clean, classic look.

As for the actual pizza itself, the aesthetics were prime. Each topping on the pizza made itself visible while also not dominating the eye, all playing their individual role to pass the eye test. 

For having three different meats, the pizza was nowhere near as greasy as anticipated, a good sign compared to other places that often feature pools of grease sitting atop the pizza. 

The slices? Huge. As Montanile alluded to earlier, the JD5 pizza is just a tad pricier than normal thanks to premier toppings. However, there was no shortage of portions after slicing our 16-inch pizza into eight pieces. A combo of packed toppings and big slices makes one happy customer. 

Taste Test

Sure, the pizza can look good all it wants. But you're here to know how it tastes, and whether or not you should place an order yourself. 

I've had my fair share of meat-loaded pizzas. They're perhaps my favorite when I do decide to go with pizza for a meal. The JD5 pizza, however, may have the crown in my new rankings. 

I'm a big crust person (it's part of the damn pizza, eat it), so that was one of the first things I noticed. The crust was a precise medium between being cooked enough to hold the pizza and soft enough to comfortably eat alone. 

More importantly, the sauce was enjoyable while also not overpowering the taste of the toppings, a problem many popular pizza chains have shown they can't quite figure out. 

The pizza was well-balanced to ensure each bite contained every topping you asked for. I am personally not a fan of mushrooms, but even their presence intertwined with the others didn't sway me away from enjoying the pizza. The bacon was crispy, the sausage and pepperoni were tasty, and the extra cheese acted as a glue to hold everything together. 

Typically, I devour pizza when paired perfectly with ranch. However, for this review I did not use ranch to ensure I could correctly capture my thoughts on the taste. I'm a firm believer that ranch dressing would have pushed this pizza closer to a five-star rating.

Overall Thoughts: The Heisman Trophy of Pizzas

This pizza easily gets a four out of five stars, and that's with my distaste for mushrooms playing into the picture (there were options to remove any topping you like when ordering; that's on me). 

The JD5 pizza does a great job of replicating the JD5 on the field: The big-name toppings make it exciting for anybody to dive into, while also providing versatility for any time of day. You can choose to either opt for one slice at lunch, or choose two or more for dinner time. It can get the job done either way. When you dial its number, you know exactly what you're getting.

If there were a Heisman Trophy for pizzas, the JD5 would easily be running away with the award. It would nonchalantly pull out a well-prepared speech and act surprised after being declared the winner. Perhaps do this yearly for pizzas named after college athletes and call it the Piesman. Who knows, I'm just a journalist. 

All in all, the JD5 pizza was truly phenomenal. I enjoyed the pizza thoroughly and so did my taste-testing family as well. Venezia's local and family-owned business is a proud partner with Arizona State athletics, and now is a proud staple in the pizza rotation here as well.

Donnie Druin is a Deputy Editor with AllSunDevils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin, and AllSunDevils @AllSunDevils. Like and follow AllSunDevils on Facebook, and for more ASU news visit