The UGA football program may have landed another high-value QB transfer
UGA football fans were already excited about the future of the quarterback position for the Bulldogs, but with today’s news that former USC quarterback JT Daniels is expected to transfer to Georgia, that fervor may be kicked up a notch.
Daniels was a 5-Star prospect out of Santa Ana, Ca. for USC, but was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury in the opening week of the 2019 season. Unheralded recruit Kedon Slovis stepped in as the starting quarterback for the Trojans and seems to have a firm hold on the job.
There had been rumors floating around that Daniels was seriously considering Georgia after entering the transfer portal in April, but it was seemingly confirmed today on Twitter from multiple sources.
It seems the school who made their bones stockpiling 5-Star running backs is now becoming just as good at landing the top quarterbacks in the nation.
An embarrassment of riches for UGA football?
The question is, does the potential entrance of JT Daniels spell more trouble for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs? The Georgia head coach has found himself in a spot similar to this before and has been second-guessed as to his handling of the quarterback situation.
The NCAA is due to rule on a change to eligibility rules soon, which means Daniels could be eligible to play immediately if given a waiver. Otherwise, he’ll be forced to sit out a season. If you’re a Georgia fan, you’re probably hoping Daniels is eligible to compete for playing time this season, and here’s why.
Eason got hurt, Fromm took his job, Fields watched from the bench and decided that being a spectator behind Fromm wasn’t the life for him, so he left for Ohio State. Likewise, Eason realized hew wasn’t going to supplant Fromm as the starter, so he went out west to Washington.
Fans and the media alike were critical of Smart, saying that letting Fields leave the program was a mistake, especially after seeing what he was able to do as the Buckeyes’ starter. But, hindsight is 20/20, after all.
Fromm went on to a spectacularly successful Georgia career, with a somewhat disappointing ending. With his departure to the NFL in 2020, that left the door wide open for … you guessed it, a for-real quarterback competition.
UGA football in another QB dilemma
It’s a tough balance to find when you want to have excellent depth, but you can’t give equal playing time to a bunch of 5-Star recruits at one position. Kirby Smart has been here before, and he’s probably stocking up on Goody’s headache powder for this next round.
At the time Jake Fromm announced his departure to the NFL, Georgia already had some pretty good quarterbacks waiting in the wings – junior Stetson Bennett, redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, and redshirt freshman Nathan Priestley. Any of those three probably could have taken over and been an ample replacement for Fromm.
But then the news came that Wake Forest sensation Jamie Newman was entering the transfer portal, and before you knew it, he was a Bulldog too.
At this point, most thought Newman, who has a year of eligibility remaining, could bridge the gap for the young quarterbacks on the roster before they took over in 2021.
But wait (as they say on late-night TV), there’s more!
Georgia then got the commitment from 5-Star pro-style quarterback Carson Beck for the 2020 class. The trend continued when 5-Star dual-threat quarterback Brock Vandagriff announced his commitment for the 2021 class at UGA.
Now you add Daniels to the mix who could be around for a couple of years, depending on what the NCAA says. If his first chance at starting isn’t until 2021, he and Mr. Vandagriff may need to have a sit-down.
That’s one crowded quarterback room for the next two years provided everyone sticks around. And that, for Georgia fans and Kirby Smart, is the problem.
It’s nearly impossible to get all these guys to stick around and wait their turn, especially in today’s world of the mysterious and powerful transfer portal (only surpassed in mystery and power by the Continuum Transfunctioner).
Perhaps it’s not the worst problem to have. We’ve seen other coaches navigate through (both successfully and unsuccessfully) having multiple star quarterbacks on their roster, but that was in a different era.
Newman is the only one Kirby Smart doesn’t have to concern himself with. Should he miss out on the starting job, he’ll be an able backup or situational quarterback. He’s in Athens for one year and then he’s done.
The rest of this talented group of current and incoming quarterbacks? That’s going to be a fun juggling act to see Kirby Smart attempt.