It was just one game, but it looks like the Georgia Bulldogs have their quarterback. In his first start with his new team,
In Georgia’s 31-24 win over Mississippi State, Daniels was incredibly efficient. He completed 28 of his 38 passes for 401 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. On Sunday, Pro Football Focus revealed that Daniels earned a grade of 94.8, the high highest of any quarterback across the country. The closest signal caller to Daniels was Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong with a grade of 93.7.
This performance was especially impressive considering it was Daniels’ first live action since tearing his ACL with the USC Trojans last year. With Kedon Slovis winning that starting job in his absence, Daniels decided to transfer to Georgia in the offseason. It looks like Daniels is fully healed, and that’s great news for the Bulldogs’ offense.
After the game, there were questions about why Daniels hadn’t started sooner this year. The Bulldogs leaned on Stetson Bennett IV through most of the the first six games, but it’s clear now that Daniels may have been the better option. Daniels was asked about why he just now saw his first game action with Georgia, and he said he just had to wait his turn.
“You said it right there, that is not my decision,” Daniels said. “I’ve been getting healthy and getting as many reps as I can with the scout team, trying to get with the receivers as much as I can, making sure I know the play book and just getting ready. It feels really good, this is the first time I’ve taken a (game) snap since Aug. 31, 2019, in another part of the country. and I really couldn’t be happier and more appreciative to Coach Smart, Coach Monken and the team.”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked the same question. While he understood why people would wonder how Daniels hasn’t played until now, he also maintains that he always made decisions that gave his team the best shot to win this year.
“Absolutely I would,” Smart said when asked if he could understand why someone would ask why Daniels hasn’t played before tonight. “But I also think people need to take into consideration that I’ve been coaching football for I don’t know how many years, 20 or 25 years and God knows Monken has probably doubled me as old as he is. There’s not a decision that we make as coaches, as a coaching staff, as an offensive coaching staff, five guys that I adore and think the world of … maybe the question should be, man, aren’t they glad they’ve got J.T. here, when nobody thought that maybe they needed him.
“Would I have loved him to go out and do that same thing to other teams? Absolutely. But the decisions were made on who we felt gave us the best opportunity to win, and a lot of that had to do with mobility and Stetson’s play. As Stet struggled, we had to look for other options. He did a great job with his opportunity, he also had some help in receivers that came back and how Mississippi State played them. I don’t want to use that to demean how he played. He played unbelievable. I’m as proud as hell for the way he played. But every decision we make is who gives us the best opportunity to win the game and the men in that room who are making those decisions, they’ve got a lot of experience doing it.”