BREAKING: USC quarterback JT Daniels out for season with torn ACL, meniscus

Adam Maya

An MRI revealed that USC quarterback JT Daniels suffered a torn ACL and meniscus and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season, according to sources close to the situation.

Coach Clay Helton confirmed the diagnosis Sunday night and said Daniels will have surgery in a few weeks after a bit of rehab. The timetable is 9-12 months, which could make Daniels available for the start of the 2020 season. He'll be a redshirt sophomore.

The initial hope from the medical staff after an initial round of tests was that Daniels had a severe knee sprain and avoided a season-ending injury. But further testing confirmed tears in his right knee.

"I want to thank JT for the amount of work that he's put in, not only to himself but to our football team," Helton said Sunday evening. "The offseason that he had was tremendous and it was really so nice to see what he was doing in the first half.

"He will be missed but we'll have to move forward and we wish him nothing but the best in the surgery."

Daniels landed awkwardly while sacked late in the second quarter of USC’s 31-23 win over Fresno State. He was soon helped off the field and unable to put any weight on his right leg before being carted off to the locker room. 

Daniels finished 25 of 34 for 215 yards with a touchdown and interception. Helton said true freshman Kedon Slovis will start this upcoming Saturday versus Stanford.

"Got all the confidence in the world in his ability," Helton said of Slovis. "We have the utmost trust in his ability to get the job done and we look forward to watching him play on Saturday."

Slovis relieved Daniels and went 6 of 8 for 57 yards with an interception while playing the entire second half versus Fresno State. The Trojans currently have just one other scholarship QB on the roster, redshirt junior Matt Fink, after redshirt sophomore Jack Sears left the team and entered the transfer portal last week upon being slotted fourth on the depth chart.  

Comments (10)

Adam - has the Jack Sears boat passed?

Is there any dialogue between Helton and USC (or USC Admin) with Jack Sears and his family?

I'm curious what is the mindset of all these parties?

No. 1-3

Nice post, but I don’t think Jack Sears is coming back to be third string. He only comes back if he’s the starter and Graham Harrell is very confident in Slovis. Also, consider that Helton must swallow some pride if he were to approach Sears - and that’s a bridge too far.

6 Replies


You can criticize CCH for lots of things, but inflexibility with folks in the portal isn’t one of them. Bru, Steele, Velus, Fink.....


Not trying to criticize Helton right now, and you already know I am not a Helton fan.

We just lose our starting qb for the season in less than a half. We really need Jack Sears back. I really hope Helton and Sears can create a win win situation for each other and USC. Sears needs this more as he is still is formulating his education and future career.

Last season, even the 3rd string qb got in. I'm not confident in our Oline.

All of our Qbs are 200 lb-ers (plus or minus) - they're like twigs vs. the dline men, linebackers, and safeties.


TailBack U and David Law - how do you guys predict this season turns out, and what are your possible outcomes that you predict?

Just curious what your thoughts are, as our season just kicked off.


Initially, I had SC going 8-4 with losses to Stanford, UW, ND and the Ducks. My pessimistic take was 6-6 with additional losses to Utah and UCLA. That was my JT as starting QB scenario. With Sears as the starter I gave them the mobility upside of his talents and a win boost from 8-4 to 9-3 range. The unforeseen Slovis tenure seems bleaker than my 6-6 prediction. Too many known-unknowns.


I want to see Sears play, in a change of direction of the game, type moment.

Have some plays that suits Sears mobility talents. Let him create and try to give the dfens fits, and to account for the qb.

I'm not happy in hearing Sears isn't coming back and both parties are not speaking to one another.

We need all hands on deck. Down to 2 quarterbacks. Sigh.


That’s fair.


1st of all - Godspeed JT!

I'm curious how other fans thinks the season plays out? With Slovis as the "Guy," now. Will Jack Sears be asked back to give a hand?

Tough break for JT and the Trojan Family.

My thoughts:

SC does the following:

1 - starts slowly with Slovis due to a rough schedule. I see the Trojans best possible record at 7-5, with wins vs. byu, zona, zona st. cal colorado, and possibly ucla (although this is no give me esp., since me thinks ucla has the better coach - just look at last years cruddy ucla team beating SC).

If this happens, I think the Helton will come to an end shortly after the Notre Dame game.

Clancy becomes interim coach.

2 - SC does worst, and loses another 2 games off my 1st scenario making it 5-7, with loses to one of the zona schools and ucla.

again helton is gone.

3 - is it possible Slovis the 2nd coming of the USC Messiah (Sam Darnold).

I don't think so, he sure doesn't move like Darnold and Darnold had a year to sit and learn. Can Helton be so fortunate to have another generational qb in Slovi? Odds are highly unlikely.

Although the system is better, and ball comes out quicker, as we saw last night, it just takes 1 hit in an unclean pocket and it's adios muchacho for The Whole year.

4 - Jack Sears plays, in situations to change the pace, and predicted outcomes can't be given because Jack creates with his feet.

Does this net us more wins? Will the Staff have the balls to see what we got in Sears?

We'll find out.

Tough start for us Trojans.

Fight On!