Georgia already added a transfer quarterback who is the odds-on favorite to start for the ‘Dawgs in 2020. Now it looks like Kirby Smart has also added a veteran quarterback who could compete for the starting job in 2021.
Former USC starter JT Daniels is enrolling in Athens after announcing this spring that he was leaving Troy, where a series of injuries prevented him from living up to his five star recruit potential.
Daniels threw for 2,672 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2018 as Southern Cal limped to a 5-7 finish. But he appeared poised for a sophomore breakout in 2019. USC brought in pass happy offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and Daniels seized the starting job headed into week one.
That’s where things went sideways, as Daniels was injured on USC’s final offensive play of the first half in the season opener against Fresno State. He had completed 73% of his passes, throwing for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception before tearing his ACL and ending his season before it ever really got started.
In a scenario that should be familiar to UGA fans, Daniels’ injury in the first game opened the door for freshman Kedon Slovis to step in and take over the Trojan offense. Slovis would set a PAC-12 record and an NCAA freshman record by completing 71.9 percent of his passes for the season, throwing for 3,502 yards with 30 touchdowns, and being named the PAC-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Slovis, a dark horse Heisman candidate, was very clearly going to enter the spring at the top of the depth chart and Daniels, in very Jacob Eason fashion, gracefully decided to seek his fortune elsewhere.
Barring a waiver for 2020 Daniels is likely to become eligible in 2021 with three years to play three seasons. So when Jamie Newman exits after the 2020 season the former five star recruit will join fellow blue chippers Carson Beck, Dwan Mathis, and likely Brock Vandagriff is competing for the starting job. It’s likely that one or more losers of that competition ultimately transfers, but Kirby Smart finds himself with several shots at having a multi-year elite QB starter. I don’t know that Daniels is a title-caliber quarterback but I feel confident either he, Mathis, Beck, or Vandagriff is. That’s enviable depth at perhaps the most important position on the field. Until later...