Former five-star quarterback prospect JT Daniels entered his name in the transfer portal this week, surprising most around the college football world. Daniels missed all but one game in 2019 for the Trojans after suffering a knee injury. He was expected to fight for the starting job with sophomore Kedon Slovis this offseason, pending a healthy return. While that could still happen, Daniels is set to explore his options in the portal.
Daniels threw for 2,672 yards as a true freshman in 2018, tossing 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Working against him is the emergence of Slovis, who threw for over 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns in his freshman season after replacing Daniels following the injury.
Naturally, Tennessee has already been named as a potential destination. A simple game of connect the dots will lead you to receivers coach/passing game coordinator Tee Martin, who joined the Vols after his stint as USC’s offensive coordinator. Martin coached Daniels during his freshman season at Southern Cal, developing a baseline relationship with the former top prospect.
Daniels signed with USC as the 16th best player in the 2018 class — the second ranked pro style quarterback in the cycle. He’s now on the transfer market at an interesting time while programs are on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Would it make sense for Tennessee to pursue Daniels, though? He’s still not healthy just yet and the Volunteers have a crowded — yet very much unproven — quarterback room. Senior Jarrett Guarantano is the likely starter, but sophomore Brian Maurer was going to have his say about the job in camp. Five-star freshman Harrison Bailey enrolled early and was set to push Guarantano as well. Sophomore J.T. Shrout along with Maryland transfer Kasim Hill are also in the mix, along with freshman athlete Jimmy Holiday.
Tennessee has a lot going on at the position right now. It was likely to be somewhat settled during spring practice, but those sessions remain up in the air for now.
The Volunteers have quite a few pieces now in place, but the quarterback spot remains the elephant in the room. The transfer market has gotten a few programs over the hump in recent years, most notably LSU with Joe Burrow last season.
But do you really want to rock the boat and risk pushing someone you currently have out? With Bailey already here, I’m probably passing on Daniels.