WVU’s coaching staff is quite happy with its new quarterback.
JT Daniels continued his strong start as a Mountaineer in WVU’s passer, tossing for 174 yards and a touchdown in just under two quarters against Towson. That brings his season total up to 743 yards and six touchdowns.
His individual performance has helped WVU’s offense on a resurgence compared to the last several seasons. WVU has gained 509 yards per game — a boost of 140 yards over the 2022 average — and has punted just once in the last two games.
“I think we’ve played relatively clean, I think we can be a lot cleaner,” Daniels said. “But in general, I think we have a lot of great talent offensively. I think each week we execute better and better, and if we keep going on this pace I think we’ll be a really good offense.”
Several Mountaineers have had a hand in that improvement. On the ground, running backs Tony Mathis Jr. and CJ Donaldson have gone head-to-head every week to lead the team in rushing yards. Daniels also has some new-and-improved passing targets, including Bryce Ford-Wheaton, who quickly burst onto the national scene in his first game of the season.
As always, though, the quarterback is the centerpiece of the offense and therefore has a lop-sided share of the credit. Daniels received plenty of praise for his leadership as his team weathered some difficult spots at the start of the campaign, but now, it is clear that WVU got the quarterback they expected this offseason.
Graham Harrell, WVU’s offensive coordinator and a Big 12 quarterbacking legend himself, is especially impressed.
“He’s probably exceeded expectations,” Harrell said. “I knew how intelligent he was and how much he studied and worked at it, so you knew you were getting a guy that was going to come in and be prepared and give you all he has, and I think…what he’s done best is he’s had a short period of time to really kind of come into the team and earn the respect of the guys and develop as a leader, and he’s done a great job of that.”
WVU has a long way to go as it has completed just a quarter of its schedule so far. Harrell says WVU’s continued growth hinges on added success from its quarterback.
“If your quarterback plays well you’ve got a chance to win every week, and if he doesn’t play well, you don’t have much of a chance to win,” Harrell said. “For us to continue to be successful, he’s going to have to play well.”