CBS Sports’ Shehan Jeyarajah named his top five impactful transfers in the Big 12 and West Virginia’s JT Daniels made the list. Daniels was listed alongside Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, Baylor defensive lineman Jaxon Player, Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez and Oklahoma linebacker T.D. Roof.
It’s worth noting that the list only included one transfer from each team so schools like Oklahoma and Texas, who are rated as having the No. 4 and No. 5 incoming transfer classes by 247Sports, could’ve another more impactful transfer than some of the players mentioned in the list.
Daniels will be one of four 2022 transfer quarterbacks expected to start for a Big 12 team this upcoming season. The class of such quarterbacks is strong, with Daniels and Ewers having the pedigree of being a former No. 1 overall quarterback for their respective classes.
“The Mountaineers have been looking for a quarterback since the instant Neal Brown joined the program,” wrote Jeyarayah. “And Daniels ranked as one of the more proven options on the market.
“Daniels has thrown for nearly 5,000 yards in his career on 610 pass attempts at USC and Georgia combined, but teaming up with former offensive coordinator Graham Harrell at WVU gives him a chance to recapture his old form. The Mountaineers need to make major strides at receiver and on the offensive line, but Daniels raises the floor dramatically relative to the struggles of previous years. “
West Virginia is Daniels third team. He originally committed to USC and started there his freshman season where he threw for 2,672, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was slated to start in 2019 before he suffered a season-ending injury early on.
Kedon Slovis, who transferred to Pitt this past off-season and will be Daniels and West Virginia’s first opposing quarterback this year, then took over the USC job and put together his own historic true freshman season. This forced Daniels to transfer to Georgia for the 2020 season, where he lost a quarterback battle in the off-season and entered as the team’s third-string quarterback.
After injuries and inconsistent play from the top two quarterbacks at Georgia, Daniels took over for four games and thrived in 2020. In his four starts that season, Daniels completed 67.2% of his passes for 1231 yards, 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions en route to a perfect 4-0 record.
He entered last season as Georgia’s starter, but an injury in week one against Clemson led to the team replacing him in week two with Stetson Bennett. Daniels came back and started in week three and four, but was replaced by Bennett in that week four game against Vanderbilt. Daniels remaining action for the rest of the season would come in relief of Bennett.
There were questions as to whether or not it was injuries or a preference for Bennett that kept Daniels sidelined for most of the season. Daniels overall numbers last season certainly aren’t bad, in five games he completed 72.3% of his passes for 722 yards, seven touchdowns and just three interceptions.
That being said there were rumblings he was healthy prior to the college football playoff, but the team still decided to go with Bennett. And if he felt he still was the preference in Georgia, he probably wouldn’t have transferred from the defending national champions this off-season.
Also, one can argue that his 2021 overall numbers are propped up by a big game against South Carolina in week three where he threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns against just one interception. Not to mention his last two appearances coming in relief appearances during ‘garbage time’ on the field.
Regardless, Daniels figures to be the starting quarterback for West Virginia and easily the most talented one that head coach Neal Brown and company have had during their tenure. He’s a worthy inclusion on any impact transfer list, and probably rivals only Ewers as the biggest name transfer for the Big12.
Daniels has two years of eligibility remaining though, it’d be extremely surprising to see him pass on the NFL Draft and return next year if he finally lives up to the hype of the No. 1 overall prospect status he had leaving high school in 2018.
West Virginia and Daniels kick their season off on the road at Heinz Field against rival Pitt on Thursday, September 1 at 7:00 p.m. where he will have a chance for redemption against the quarterback who originally forced him to transfer from USC two years ago.