Joe Brady was the wide receivers coach at LSU in 2019 when they went on their historic run with the trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Terrace Marshall at receiver with the team quarterbacked by Heisman trophy winner, Joe Burrow.
Fast forward to 2023, and an assistant coach you may not have heard of on the LSU staff is quarterback coach Joe Sloan. Sloan has been the quarterback coach at LSU since the beginning of 2022. That means that Jayden Daniels has been Sloan’s starting quarterback the whole time he has been with the Tigers. And the improvement of Daniels has been tremendous; catapulting him into being a Heisman trophy finalist.
While it’s easy to point out the head coach and other players on the field that help to elevate a player, many times the niche position coaches go without much notice at all, and are a lot of times arguably the biggest reason for the development. This is where Sloan deserves a lot more credit than he is being given for the development of Daniels.
Joe Sloan: The secret to Jayden Daniels’ success
Daniels began his career at Arizona State and was a consensus four-star recruit coming out of high school in the class of 2019. During his time at Arizona State, Daniels saw playing time as a true freshman, and was a mediocre thirty-two touchdowns, thirteen interceptions and a quarterback rating of 143 during his three years with the Sun Devils in which he started 29 games.
Starting in 2022, Daniels transferred to LSU, and this is where him and Sloan began working together. While Daniels had a quarterback rating of only 144 in 2022 for the Tigers, the college football world started to take notice of Daniels during the second half of the season.
By 2023, it was apparent that Daniels had grown into the position incrementally in the off-season, and it continued throughout the year culminating with a 9-3 campaign for the Tigers that saw Daniels emerge as the main story and in the Heisman Trophy conversation. Daniels finished 2023 with a quarterback rating of 208, and currently ranks fourth all-time in the SEC with a combined quarterback rating of 173.6 from 2019-2023.
Sloan has done wonders with Daniels, and the Tigers will be lucky to retain him in 2024, where it looks like they have so far. According to TigerDroppings, Brian Kelly was quoted as saying, “I think Jayden would tell you the relationship he has with Coach Sloan was big in his development,” during an SEC coaches teleconference. The two are seen embracing in a recording after a recent home game as well.
Time will tell if Daniels will be the second Heisman Trophy winning quarterback for the Tigers in the past five years. Either way, the growth and recognition that should be given to Sloan should go unquestioned.