June 6, 2024

JT Daniels transferring to West Virginia: Ex-Georgia, USC quarterback picks Mountaineers as next destination

JT Daniels transferring to West Virginia: Ex-Georgia, USC quarterback picks Mountaineers as next destination

Former Georgia and USC quarterback JT Daniels announced Wednesday that he is committing to West Virginia over Missouri and Oregon State. The former five-star prospect was listed as a junior on the Georgia roster this past season and will have at least one season left to play for the Mountaineers.

“Going up and down the roster, I feel like they have very, very good pieces everywhere,” Daniels told ESPN. “It feels like a great fit for quarterback. I feel like there’s a really, really, really good team that I’m going to step into and do my part to contribute.”

Daniels’ career began with promise as a true freshman at USC in 2018 before a knee injury derailed his sophomore season and led to the emergence of Kedon Slovis as the Trojans quarterback. Following the 2019 season, Daniels transferred to Georgia and received immediate eligibility. Though he was still rehabilitating his knee early in his time at Georgia, he emerged as the Bulldogs’ starter late in the 2020 season. Ultimately, he never fully wrestled the job away from Stetson Bennett IV, who wound up leading UGA to the national title this past season despite beginning the year buried on the depth chart. 

Though Daniels has battled injuries and been beaten out in two locations, his career numbers are solid. Daniels has completed 63.8% of this passes and thrown for 32 touchdowns with just 16 interceptions. He figures to become the frontrunner for the starting job at WVU as the Mountaineers come off a 6-7 season and seek to gain traction in coach Neal Brown’s fourth season as head coach. The Mountaineers ranked ninth out of 10 Big 12 teams last season with just 5.4 yards per play.

With Daniels’ addition, the upcoming Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt on Sept. 1 will have a distinct USC flavor as former Trojans QB Kedon Slovis will be on the Panthers’ sideline as a transfer. 

West Virginia needed a QB

After winning the job late in the 2019 season, Jarret Doege spent the past two seasons as West Virginia’s starting quarterback. But three days after WVU’s 18-6 loss to Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in December, Doege announced his plan to transfer. That decision opened up a spot on the depth chart, and it gave both WVU and Doege a fresh start. Doege ended up at Western Kentucky, while the Mountaineers began searching for a replacement. 

Former three-star prospect Garrett Greene backed up Doege last season and remains on the roster to provide competition for Daniels. Four-star true freshman Nicco Marchiol and three-star redshirt freshman Will Crowder are also in the QB room, but those three players have attempted a combined 32 career passes and will likely face a steep climb to beat out the seasoned Daniels.

Daniels gets another chance

As the No. 6 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class, according to 247Sports, many assumed Daniels would be in the NFL by now. Instead, he is entering his fifth season of college football and hasn’t played more than five games in a single campaign since 2018. 

He should be motivated to show he has plenty left in the tank and face fewer obstacles than he did at USC and Georgia. With the Trojans, a knee injury and Slovis’ stellar play set him back. At Georgia, the lingering effects of the knee injury in 2020 delayed his ascension to the starting role. Then, an issue with his midsection in 2021 resulted in Bennett keeping the job for good. 

Daniels’ career has not gone according to script by any stretch. As he reunites with former USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, who is in his first season as WVU’s offensive coordinator, there is plenty of reason to believe that his final chapter of college football can be a good one.

Over his seven starts at Georgia, Daniels completed 134 of 190 passes for 1,798 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. If he can translate that efficiency to West Virginia over the course of a full season, he’ll find himself back on the radar of NFL scouts.