JT Daniels: What Does the Former Five-Star Bring to Georgia
Georgia landed yet another transfer quarterback Thursday in JT Daniels. The former five-star recruit out of Mater Dei high school in Santa Ana, Calif., was the second-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country in the 2018 recruiting class, behind only Trevor Lawerence.
After earning the starting job and playing 11 games as a true freshman at USC, he threw for 2,887 yards on 60.7%, with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Daniels then suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening game of his sophomore season for the Trojans. Late in the second quarter, he went down with what USC head coach Clay Helton later described as an ACL and meniscus injury. At the point of his injury, Daniels was 25 of 34 for 215 yards and a touchdown.
Now, he's on his way to Athens after 12 career games in Los Angeles. So, just what does he bring to the QB room?
For one thing, Daniels has one of the quickest releases you'll find in a quarterback, especially one that's 6' 3" and 215 pounds. He's by no means a dual-threat, but he's also far from the statuesque pro-style quarterback of yesteryear.
Daniels is the definition of a freelancer at the quarterback position. One play you may see him go through his full progression, reading the entire field before coming back to the No. 1 read. And the next play you may see him scramble and dump a shovel pass off to the back.
I think he's best in the quick-game portion of the offense. Hitches, slants, curls and speed outs. In other words, routes that allow him to get the ball out of his hands immediately.
He appears to trust his arm talent a bit too much at times, which was the cause of a lot of his poor decisions with the football at USC. Dropping arms slots in the face of pressure, and thinking he can fit balls into windows that aren't quite there got him into trouble.
Not only that, but he can also get careless inside the pocket in terms of ball security. In 12 games, he fumbled 10 times, but fortunately only losing three of those fumbles. That's a grand total of 14 turnovers in 12 starts. Not good.
Daniels is supremely talented, and it should be noted that 91.66% of his college film is of him as a true freshman—and that one first half as a sophomore was electric. But he made a lot of mistakes and missed a lot of throws as a freshman. There's no way around it, his 2018 season wasn't great.
This is Kirby Smart taking in a former five-star, one who was banged up behind a less than impressive offensive line out at USC, and hoping he can turn him back into the guy that was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year.
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