by Jim Buzzerd
Over several weeks the name JT Daniels has surfaced in this space. There was enough information circulating that the West Virginia University football program and the former Five Star quarterback recruit, and current Georgia transfer, shared a mutual interest. Daniels’ interest in West Virginia must be his familiarity with WVU’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Graham Harrell. Harrell coached Daniels for two seasons at USC.
Daniels has played parts of four college seasons. A former five-star recruit, Daniels started 11 games as a freshman at USC in 2018. He passed for 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions that season. Daniels suffered a torn ACL in the 2019 season opener for the Trojans.
Daniels transferred to Georgia for the start of the 2020 season. In two seasons with the Bulldogs, he played in nine games [seven starts]. He passed for 1,953 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions and was 7-0 as a starter at Georgia. A pair of injuries allowed Stetson Bennett to pass Daniels on the depth chart and the Bulldogs went on to win the national championship.
West Virginia’s interest in the transfer would seem to be obvious. If there is a quarterback rated as high as Daniels wants to be in your program; how do you not take him? That seemed to be a question following Daniels’ official visit to Morgantown two weekends ago. Head coach Neal Brown, who has three talented, albeit young and inexperienced, quarterbacks battling it out this spring indicated after Daniels’ visit that he and the staff would likely wait for the spring game to evaluate their need at quarterback.
That is the way things were presented last Monday, two days later, on Wednesday, Daniels committed to the Mountaineers. For the record, the Gold-Blue Game will go on this Saturday at 1 p.m. I’m trying to confirm that the game will be televised on ESPN+ but is not currently listed. I would be interested to see all position battles, but quarterback would top my list.
When Daniels enrolls, WVU could have four scholarship quarterbacks on their roster. He will join Garrett Greene, Will Crowder and freshman Nicco Marchiol. Missouri and Oregon State also targeted Daniels in the latest recruiting window. Many thought Marchiol would arrive this spring and take the starting job. That did not appear to be happening as Marchiol understandably struggled at the new level. Greene who has the most experience of the three was leading the race.
But that’s why this Saturday’s game is so interesting. Personally, I want to see where Marchiol is in relation to Greene and Crowder. One must assume Daniels now has the inside track to being the starter against Pitt on September 1. An assumption could also be made that at least one of the three young quarterbacks will end up in the transfer portal.