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How Daniels’ Transfer Helps WVU Football’s Offense

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Former five-star quarterback JT Daniels is coming to West Virginia.

Daniels has two years of eligibility remaining, and he chose to utilize them within the confines of WVU’s offense, as opposed to those of Oregon State and Missouri. 6’3″, 210 pound- Daniels selected the Mountaineers over the Beavers and Tigers because of what he told ESPN’s Pete Thamel was a comfortability “with Coach Brown and the ideas that he has and the way that he runs a program.”

Daniels, who went 7-0 as a starter for the Bulldogs in 2021, enters the Mountaineer quarterback room as easily the most experienced. Of Garrett Greene, Will Crowder, and Nicco Marchiol, Daniels is the only player who has started a collegiate football game; he’s done it well.

In 2020-21, he compiled 1,953 passing yards on 148 completions with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. At USC the two years prior, he fit well into the pass-heavy offensive schemes. His 2018 true freshman showing produced 2,672 yards on 216 completions for 10 touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. 2019, his overlap season with current WVU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Graham Harrell, Daniels was sidelined for all but a single game. A season-ending knee injury in the season opener against Fresno State cut his season short, but he threw 215 yards and a touchdown on 25 completions.

Daniels’ injury history has been a nagging issue since he left high school early to attend USC. A concussion in 2018.  The season-ending right ACL injury in 2019 that preceded his transfer to Georgia. In 2021, he was sidelined again with oblique issues and a strained lat, which caused him to miss Georgia’s UAB, Arkansas, Auburn, and Florida games that season. Back-up Stetson Bennett stepped up and took the Bulldogs to the National Championship victory, and Daniels entered his name into the transfer portal on Jan. 19, 2022.

“The No. 1 thing [that I need to prove] is that I can stay healthy,” Daniels told ESPN. “If there’s one thing I haven’t proven, it’s that. I’ve missed 35 games in three years.”

When Daniels arrives in Morgantown presumably in May, after graduating with his degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia, he will have two seasons as a grad transfer.

Daniels’ presence in the quarterback room won’t be fraught with issues, at least not related to initiating a new offense. The Air-Raid offense is one in which Daniels has thrived. Harrell taught him the ropes in Los Angeles in 2019, and now the two, and their schemes, are reunited.

“It definitely helped knowing Graham coming into it and having a really good relationship with him,” Daniels said. “Knowing that I trust that offense and that system, and I believe in it. I also feel really comfortable with Coach Brown and the ideas that he has and the way that he runs a program.”

Daniels, a five-star quarterback coming out of Mater Dei High School, is a proper pocket passer, and WVU’s returning of all five starting offensive linemen was a selling point. Daniels saw the opportunity to come in and immediately make a difference with the foundational positions that WVU brings into 2022.

“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.”

Add on a pair of wide outs in redshirt junior Bryce Ford-Wheaton and redshirt senior Sam James for a combined 2,676 career receiving yards, Colorado State transfer tight end Brian Polendey, and starting running back Tony Mathis Jr., and the 2022 offense seems to be shaping up nicely.

“They have plenty of skill guys,” Daniels said of West Virginia’s 2022 roster. “There’s no question there. And they’ve been a [top-ranked] defense the last five years. It feels like a really good, complete team that I want to be a part of.”

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