National media praises JT Daniels, still skeptical of Georgia football after spring game
Even while missing a number of top receivers and playing behind a reshuffled offensive line, Georgia quarterback JT Daniels still managed to impress not just Georgia fans but many in the national media.
Daniels threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns while playing mistake-free football on the afternoon. And he did it all while George Pickens, Jermaine Burton and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint — three of his top four pass-catching options — all sat out due to injury.
“There’s been a lot of improvement to me overall personally and also with a lot of guys stepping up in the receiver room,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot better chemistry that you notice from the spring game compared to the 180, when I was first starting to rep with the 1s.”
JT Daniels slinging it ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/kyTeTD3G5J
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) April 17, 2021
Related: JT Daniels making waves in SEC, shares spring game insight
The play from Daniels got the attention of a number in the national media. Stewart Mandel of The Athletic took note of Daniels possibly being the first true star quarterback under head coach Kirby Smart.
Time to start talking to your kids about the fact Kirby Smart has himself a bona fide star QB. https://t.co/ObMUvczc1s
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) April 17, 2021
Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network, who was working the sidelines for ESPN, gave deeper insight into why he was so impressed with the junior quarterback.
“I’ve never come across a kid as organized and as detailed as this young man,” Cubelic said. “People do not know who JT Daniels is. Some of that is because he hasn’t done a ton of media. Some just say, ‘Oh USC, California kid.” This was the Gatorade National Player of the Year.”
‘Our 20-minute sit down with JT Daniels, as a crew, it’s probably the most impressive sit-down that we’ve had of any college football player we’ve sat down with.’@colecubelic was blown away by @GeorgiaFootball QB, JT Daniels. 👇🔊 pic.twitter.com/sfeypc7KGH
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) April 19, 2021
Even those who are still skeptical of Georgia in 2021 acknowledge that Daniels and the quarterback position are not a worry. Paul Finebaum called Daniels “legitimate” and an obvious Heisman contender.
But in an interview with WJOX 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Finebaum outlined why the past hurdles for Georgia still exist. Even with a talented quarterback like Daniels.
“If they can hold it together, last year, the team didn’t hold it together,” Finebaum said. “They lost the Alabama game and they look terrible against Florida. I think it’s fairly similar, I mean this is what Kirby Smart does. He recruits elite athletes. This is one of the top four or five programs in the country, can they win the right games for us to say they’re going to the playoffs? Simple as that.”
Josh Pate of 247Sports struck a similar tone. Daniels is clearly the answer to Georgia’s long-running concern about the quarterback position. The Bulldogs went 4-0 last in games that Daniels started as he threw for 10 touchdowns in those games.
Georgia does still have concerns about its defensive back play, as the Bulldogs essentially start over at cornerback. But with Smart, one of the best defensive back coaches in the country, and new analyst Will Muschamp, Georgia should be able to patch up the position.
“You better get defensive back figured out. There’s no reason not to,” Pate said. “Youth and inexperience when you got as much talent as they have on the roster there are not viable excuses.”
No way I’m about to see Georgia trot a legit QB out there and then blame DB inexperience for not getting the job done in 2021.
Kirby has the staff he wants. Time to work. pic.twitter.com/uaKE9pC7eB
— Josh Pate 🎙🏈 (@LateKickJosh) April 20, 2021
The next time Daniels and Georgia take the field might be their toughest task in the 2021 regular season as the Bulldogs open with the Clemson Tigers. The game figures to be a matchup between top-5 teams and ones who could possibly meet again in the College Football Playoff.
If Georgia is to win that game, Daniels figures to be a big reason as to why.
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