Pro Football Focus’ Max Chadwick has focused on ranking the top ten returning players at each position as teams are getting prepared for spring practices. For this list, Chadwick focused on the top returning quarterbacks and LSU’s Jayden Daniels sits at the No. 6 spot on the rankings. Daniels will be one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC and it will be an offense that returns most of its production from a 10-win season in 2022.
The dual-threat quarterback announced that he was coming back for another season with the Tigers and there will be a lot of expectation surrounding him heading into the 2023 season. Check out what PFF had to say on why they have Daniels as one of the top gunslingers in the country:
“Like Nix and Penix, a new environment revived Daniels’ career. The Arizona State transfer led all quarterbacks in the country this season with a 0.6% turnover-worthy play rate. The junior was the only quarterback who rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Overall, only Drake Maye and Caleb Williams were more valuable Power Five quarterbacks than the LSU signal-caller in 2022.”
Jayden Daniels Starts His College Career at Arizona State:
Before coming to LSU, Daniels spent his first three seasons of his collegiate career out west. Daniels burst onto the scene during his freshman season with the Sun Devils and made an instant impact to lead them to a nine-win season. He became the first true-freshman quarterback to start a season-opener in the history of the Arizona State football program. The talented quarterback would cap off his freshman season with 2,493 yards and 17 touchdowns. On the ground, he would add 355 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The biggest win of his freshman season dueling out Justin Herbert as the Sun Devils upset highly-ranked Oregon. Daniels would throw for 408 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-28 victory over the Ducks. After a sensational freshman season, Daniels would struggle to regain that momentum in the next two seasons. In a shortened season in 2020, Daniels would throw for 701 yards and five touchdowns to go along with four rushing touchdowns.
Jayden Daniels launched it out to Brandon Aiyuk for the 81-yard TD to stun Oregon 🔥
From B/R x @BassProShops pic.twitter.com/vMnS91VIQ2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 24, 2019
The 2021 season was a bit of a down year for Daniels as he threw a career-high in interceptions (10) and would only throw 10 touchdowns on the season. He still was able to remain effective in the running game as he rushed for 710 yards and six touchdowns. Daniels would decide to enter his name into the transfer portal and would take his talents elsewhere.
Jayden Daniels Shines in His First Season with the Tigers:
Daniels would decide to take his talents to Baton Rouge to compete in the SEC with some of the heavyweights in college football. Off the bat he showed confidence during spring practice and would take command of the huddle on offense. The San Bernardino, California native would have his bright moments during his junior season with the Tigers. He was able to win the starting quarterback job and he would never look back.
On the season, Daniels accounted for 2,913 passing yards for 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Daniels was also effective on the ground as he was the leading rusher for LSU. He finished the year with 186 carries for 885 yards and 11 touchdowns. Daniels was able to extend plays with his legs as he has shown that he can be dynamic in the running game and showed bursts in the passing game.
"I knew I had to make a play."
LSU QB Jayden Daniels came up BIG in OT to beat No. 6 Alabama 👏 pic.twitter.com/ROYzuFLSuE
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 6, 2022
Throughout the season, Daniels showed sparks that he can become a Heisman candidate, especially with his performance against Alabama. He had games through, against Arkansas and Texas A&M, where there is still room for improvement heading into next season. Daniels has the experience that is needed at the quarterback position and he has all of the tools to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The San Bernardino, California native spoke on what ultimately brought him back to Baton Rouge for another season:
“Ultimately, it was the best decision for me to come back and accomplish more in college. I felt like I needed to grow more and I felt like I had unfinished business in college.
So I wanted to come back and compete for a national championship.”
After a slow start to the season with the new coaching staff, Daniels was able to find his groove and led the Tigers to the SEC Championship. He was able to utilize his dual-threat ability against some stiff competition throughout the season and there was positive growth from Daniels from week one to the end of the season.
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