(Photo by WVU Athletics)
There are several qualities you look for when recruiting a signal-caller. Of course accuracy, precision, work ethic, and a good pocket presence are at the top of everyone’s list. Those are the obvious ones anyone with a functional brain, eyes, and football knowledge can see. However, the one, and honestly mostly important quality a good quarterback must need is leadership. If the most important player on the team isn’t someone the rest of the team can count on, then things will spiral out of control quickly.
Luckily for the Mountaineers, they hit the jackpot when J.T. Daniels announced his intentions to transfer to WVU in April.
Everything about Daniels’ demeanor says LEADER. The way he carries himself on the field, the way he so openly celebrates and comforts his teammates, and how he simply oozes passion during postgame press conferences.
If you’re asking me, Daniels is the best leader WVU has had at signal-caller in several years. You won’t find many players in the nation who will publicly use profanity to show just how proud they are of their team, but Daniels is one of them.
“I’m really f****g proud of this team.”
-Daniels after loss to Pitt
“I told him I was proud. I don’t know how many targets he had during the game, I don’t think it was too many. But he really didn’t give a sh*t. He was ready to go as soon as his number was called.”
-Daniels on Reese Smith after Pitt loss
“There was too much dumb sh*t from us.”
-Daniels on loss to Kansas
To many, this is deemed unprofessional or a bad look. To me, this shows passion, it shows he cares. Not only is he speaking highly of his teammates, but he isn’t sugarcoating his real feelings. Whatever is on his mind, he is saying. That’s a leader to me. That shows that Daniels isn’t afraid to tell people exactly what he is thinking. He’s honest, he cares, and he loves his team.
Probably my favorite quality about Daniels is that he never appears to be flustered. No matter how much pressure is in his face or even how south things seem to be going, Daniels is always there tightening his chin strap – ready for the next play. That, my friends, is leading by example. Not every ball will bounce your way…sometimes things just stink. However, it’s how you get up and keep going that shows the kind of player or person you are.
Daniels just keeps getting up and flinging that ball around again, again, and again. That’s a pretty damn good quality to have in any aspect of life.
We have ourselves a very special player and person in J.T. Daniels, Mountaineer Nation. Yes, it is unlikely he will finish his career at the top of any record lists for West Virginia. Players before him with more time in the uniform than he will stand in his way. However, the California native will certainly leave his mark in the hearts of Mountaineer fans, directly where it hits them the deepest. He embodies everything it means to be a West Virginian with work ethic and an unwillingness to let the moment be too big or too small for him. He cares about those around him, loves what he does, and conquers adversity.
That’s a Mountaineer if you ask me.