Is WVU football a Big 12 contender with JT Daniels at QB? – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An offseason of change has energized the WVU football fanbase, and the team’s newest roster addition might be the player who energizes the team itself.
On Wednesday, former Georgia and USC quarterback JT Daniels announced his commitment to head coach Neal Brown’s program. The former five-star recruit was considered an early candidate for the Heisman Trophy last fall before injuries derailed his second season with the Bulldogs.
Despite his limited playing time at Georgia, Daniels still went 7-0 as a starter, and during that time, he proved he could be “the guy,” according to WRBL sports director Rex Castillo, who covers the Bulldogs and other SEC teams.
That intangible, he said, could be enough to turn WVU into an “interesting contender” in the Big 12 next season.
“I think what this does, it makes everyone, casual fans, hardcore fans, even coaches go like, ‘West Virginia could be a very big problem,'” Castillo said on The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast. “There are quarterbacks who you have to win despite them. JT Daniels can go get you the win. If you’re down six, if you’re down maybe even double digits and it’s getting to crunch time, I trust JT Daniels tremendously.”
Perhaps Daniels’s most impressive outing came in the 2021 Peach Bowl, which the Bulldogs won 24-21 in come-from-behind fashion. Daniels threw for 392 yards and a score, and his performance made Georgia fans excited for what could come.
“I think what he proved in that game was that he can be the guy, and there was so much optimism coming out of the Peach Bowl…Everyone was like, ‘that’s our guy, I’m buying his jersey, we’re going to the national championship game with JT Daniels under center,” Castillo said.
Though the Bulldogs did win the national title last season, Daniels’s role in that success was limited. He made just three starts, each of them early in the season, and was then sidelined due to injury.
Daniels has had an unfortunate history of injuries at each of his previous collegiate stops, but if he stays healthy with the Mountaineers, he could reach his full potential.
“I just hope he stays injury-free, and I think that’s where the experience of the West Virginia O-line, that’s gonna come into play,” Castillo said.
Daniels will reunite with new WVU offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, whose tenure as an assistant at USC overlapped with the quarterback’s time there. Castillo thinks Daniels could shine in Harrell’s system.
The signal caller will join WVU as a redshirt senior. He could play up to two more seasons of college football, thanks to the NCAA’s COVID eligibility waiver.
The Georgia transfer is set to enter an inexperienced quarterback room at WVU and is the apparent favorite to win the starting job come the Sept. 1 opener against Pitt. A transfer quarterback has served as West Virginia’s week one starter every season since 2014.
The Mountaineers will conclude spring practices next Saturday during the annual Gold-Blue Game. Watch the Mountaineer GameDay 2022 Spring Game Special next Saturday at noon to get ready for the action.
The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast is presented by Pritt & Spano. Listen to the latest episode at the top of this page, or on Apple, Spotify, Google and Amazon Music. Subscribe on your preferred podcast platform to have future episodes delivered to you.