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WVU Names Transfer JT Daniels as Week 1 Starting QB

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WVU football has named Georgia transfer JT Daniels as their starting quarterback for the Backyard Brawl. Daniels was picked after winning a quarterback competition over redshirt sophomore Garrett Greene, redshirt freshman Will Crowder and freshman Nicco Marchiol.

“He’s earned the right. Decision making is what won the job for him.. I have a lot of confidence in him and how he will start in the opener,” said head coach Neal Brown.

The selection of Daniels should come as no surprise to anyone. He came to WVU after stints in USC and Georgia came to an end when his injury replacements kept the starting job from him.

Daniels went to USC as the No. 1 overall recruit in the country on Rivals for the class of 2019 but reclassified to the class of 2018 and became the second true freshman to start a season opener for USC. As a true freshman for USC he completes 59.5% of his passes for 2,672 yards and 14 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 11 games, missing one game with a concussion that season.

He entered his sophomore year as the favorite to win a quarterback battle between redshirt junior Matt Fink, redshirt sophomore Jack Sears and three-star true freshman Kedon Slovis. Daniels won the battle, but suffered an ACL tear in just the second quarter of their opening week game against Fresno State. Slovis would go on to have a record-setting season for USC completing 71.9% of his passes for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. This forced Daniels to transfer to Georgia.

Slovis, meanwhile, notably transferred to Pitt this off-season and was recently named their starter for the Backyard Brawl after winning a competition over redshirt senior Nick Patti. This adds an extremely intriguing storyline to an already highly anticipated return of the Backyard Brawl.

Daniels found himself in another quarterback battle at Georgia, but wasn’t cleared to play in time for the season opener and lost out to now Temple starting quarterback D’Wan Mathis. Mathis struggled early and lost his starting job to Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on at Georgia who transferred out of the program in 2018 to gain experience at Jones County Community College before transferring back in 2020.

Bennett suffered an injury which led to Daniels being named the starter. In four games that season, he played extremely well completing 67.2% of his passes for 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He was 4-0 in his four starts, including a 24-21 win over undefeated No. 9 Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.

Daniels entered the 2021 season as Georgia’s starter, but suffered an oblique injury after Georgia’s opening week 10-3 victory over Clemson. He was replaced by Bennett for two weeks before returning against South Carolina. The following week Daniels started against Vanderbilt, but was replaced by Bennett when Georgia led 35-0. That was the last meaningful football Daniels played, as Bennett started the remaining games of the season en route to Georgia’s national title victory.

Just like at USC, the injuries Daniels suffered at Georgia led to Bennett getting an opportunity to take and hold onto the starting job. Daniels played well in 2021, completing 72.3% of his passes for 722 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions but only made three starts and appeared in just five games total. Bennett meanwhile led the team to a national title by completing 64.5% of his passes for 2,862 yards and 29 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. This play by him led Daniels to transfer for a second time.

Daniels decision in 2022 came down to WVU and Oregon State, but ultimately chose to reunite with his 2019 USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell at WVU, who also joined the team this off-season. Daniels didn’t join the program in the spring and didn’t get to take official practice reps until training camp started in August. During camp he split reps evenly with Crowder, Greene and Marchiol but clearly stood out amongst them to win the starting job.

Crowder was a 2021 three-star recruit who redshirted last season. He has only eight career snaps because of the redshirt, all coming against FCS school LIU Brooklyn. He seemed to have the longest shot to win the starting job.

Greene was a 2020 three-star recruit who was redshirted in 2020, but appeared in 11 games last year as a change-of-pace quarterback to starter Jarrett Doege. He ran (47 attempts) more often than he threw (26 attempts) for 306 rushing yards and four touchdowns. As a passer, he completed 61.5% of his passes for 147 yards though no touchdowns nor an interception.

Marchiol was the prize recruit of this year’s recruiting class. As a four-star quarterback from Chandler, Arizona he was the No. 19 rated quarterback on 247Sports for 2022. One of just 41 four-star recruits WVU has gotten in the history of 247Sports, he’s the 29th highest WVU recruit in 247Sports history.

Daniels though has been named the starter for the Backyard Brawl. He’ll take on Pitt and his former teammate Slovis on September 1st at  7:00 p.m. at Acrisure Stadium in the 105th Backyard Brawl, ending an 11-year hiatus in the series.

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