Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia Mountaineers 4th-year head coach Neal Brown has said repeatedly that when he was recruiting transfer JT Daniels to West Virginia, that he made it clear that Daniels would have to earn the starting quarterback position and that it just wouldn’t be given to him.
But the reality is that the job was Daniels’ to lose and that he would have to really play poorly during practice to not be named the starter. And so far, Daniels has shined.
Brown said the following of Daniels: “He never lost a job; he’s been injured, but if you look at his career path, it’s really remarkable. He’s had to deal with pressure since he was a freshman at Mater Dei, which is one of the top high school programs in the entire country. He started as a freshman, which has only been done a handful of times. He graduated high school an entire year early and then starts at USC as a high school senior, essentially.”
Brown continued, “He has success there, wins the job during Graham Harrell’s first year there, tears his ACL. So transfers to Georgia and was still recovering, gets the job, wins the Peach Bowl, and was playing really, really well when he got injured again. So this is a great opportunity to remind people that when he’s played, he’s played at a really high level. And so this is an opportunity for him to remind people that not only is he a high-level quarterback but he’s really an NFL prospect.”
That doesn’t sound like a quarterback that is going to sit behind Garrett Greene, a redshirt sophomore with limited experience, or Will “Goose” Crowder and Nicco Marchiol, who have no experience at this level.
New offensive coordinator Graham Harrell agrees that Daniels has what it takes to be the Mountaineers’ starter. “He’s very intelligent and he’s very even-keel and I think because of that, coaching him, he doesn’t change much,” Harrell said recently following practice. “It’s very similar to the way he was before, he’s always been intelligent and understands football very well, and I think now maybe he understands it a little better.”
While this is a supposed four-man competition for the starting quarterback role, JT Daniels will be the starter when the Mountaineers play the Pitt Panthers on September 1st, and he gives the team the very best chance of beating the hated rivals in a few weeks.
1 – JT Daniels
2 – Garrett Greene
3 – Nicco Marchiol
4 – Will “Goose” Crowder