The NCAA has ruled that transfer quarterback JT Daniels is eligible to play in 2020 and that could shake things up in Athens.
When JT Daniels announced that he was transferring to Georgia out of USC, most probably thought there would be a quarterback battle in Athens during the 2021 season, with some up-and-coming young arms ready to step in.
Now, with the NCAA ruling that Daniels is eligible to play in 2020 as reported by DawgNation, it suddenly throws a potential hitch in the plans for the Bulldogs, who were probably looking at graduate transfer Jamie Newman to be the top dawg at the quarterback position.
Daniels suffered a torn ACL in the first half of the first game of USC’s 2019 season against Fresno State. He is currently a redshirt sophomore.
Newman was supposed to be the bridge. The guy who helped seal the gap between Jake Fromm and the young and incoming quarterbacks Georgia is grooming to take over, such as redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, redshirt freshman Nathan Priestley, and incoming freshman Carson Beck.
Now it looks like Newman may have to battle off JT Daniels, who (by the way) will still probably be around at Georgia in 2021.
Some will point to the way Kirby Smart handled the quarterback jumble of Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm, and Justin Fields as an indicator that too many talented arms in the quarterback room could end up hurting the Bulldogs if not properly sorted out.
Daniels is every bit as talented as Newman, but they do both possess varying skillsets. It’s possible Smart could try to opt for a quarterback tandem, using each player in different situations and play formations.
The one person Smart doesn’t have to worry about is Newman. Regardless of how things pan out in a possible quarterback battle, Newman probably isn’t going anywhere. He’s a graduate with just this remaining year of eligibility. He could enter the transfer portal now or even after the season starts, but that doesn’t seem likely.
If hypothetically, Daniels wins the starting job and has a great 2020 season, it could mean more quarterback departures from the current roster. Kirby Smart has shown in the past that when he’s tapped someone as his starting quarterback, the job is essentially theirs unless they really mess up.
Players are no longer content to sit and wait behind another starter for even a year or two. A guy like Carson Beck who can essentially write his own ticket to whatever school he wants would be a prime candidate to bail on the Bulldogs in this situation. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum essentially agrees, telling DawgNation he feels at least one UGA quarterback will transfer.
As practices (hopefully) ramp back up amid the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying safety measures, it will be interesting to watch this quarterback situation in Athens develop.