JT Daniels’ USC tenure has officially come to an end.
The redshirt sophomore quarterback announced Thursday via Instagram and Twitter his transfer to the University of Georgia to play for head coach Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference. USC head coach Clay Helton announced April 16 via USC Athletics’ Twitter that Daniels had entered his name in the transfer portal, but the possibility — albeit slim — remained that Daniels would stick with USC.
As of Thursday, that possibility is no longer. Daniels is now expected to compete with graduate transfer Jamie Newman and incoming freshman Carson Beck for the starting job at Georgia.
Daniels was a five-star recruit out of Mater Dei in the Class of 2018. 247Sports’ No. 2 pro-style quarterback in his class, Daniels won the starting job his freshman year and again in his sophomore year before going down in the 2019 season opener with a torn ACL and meniscus, causing him to redshirt.
“THANK YOU USC,” Daniels’ social media posts announcing his transfer read. “Excited for the future #GoDawgs.”
As for USC, Daniels’ transfer figures to all but lock up the starting job for sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis in 2020. There had been speculation about an open competition in the fall, though Slovis was presumed the frontrunner for the job even if Daniels had stayed with the Trojans. Slovis posted the third-highest completion percentage in the nation last year at 71.9% and threw for 3,502 yards, compared to marks of 60.7% and 2,887 yards for Daniels in his lone full season at USC — though Slovis benefitted from an Air Raid overhauled offense led by offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Graham Harrell in 2019.
Slovis and redshirt senior Matt Fink are now the only two scholarship quarterbacks on USC’s roster.
The Trojans also added graduate transfer Mo Hasan in February, but their 2020 recruiting class included no quarterbacks. The scarcity at the position could create intrigue for USC after two starting quarterbacks in Daniels and Slovis missed time with injuries last season, forcing then-redshirt junior wide receiver Tyler Vaughns to take snaps at quarterback in practice prior to USC’s Week 5 matchup with Washington. Worth mentioning as well is the departure of left tackle Austin Jackson to the NFL, meaning USC will look to fill that void to prevent the Trojans from being forced to dig deeper into their quarterback room.
Of course, Slovis can put to rest those depth concerns by remaining healthy and productive the entire season — an outcome USC will hope for.