NCAA approves QB J.T. Daniels’ eligibility at Georgia

Credit: Greg Beacham

Credit: Greg Beacham

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J.T. Daniels was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA on Monday, turning up the heat a notch on Georgia’s quarterback competition.

Daniels, a former starter at USC who transferred to UGA this summer, announced via social media that the NCAA approved his special-circumstances waiver, and therefore he will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs right away.

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That definitely adds a layer of intrigue to preseason camp, if and when it ever begins. After losing junior Jake Fromm to the NFL draft, the Bulldogs won the sweepstakes to land former Wake Forest starter Jamie Newman as a graduate transfer. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Newman has been considered a virtual lock to take over at quarterback ever since.

But Daniels could have something to say about that. A former 5-star recruiting prospect out of Mater Dei High in California, Daniels started as a freshman at USC. He began last season as the Trojans’ starter, but was lost to a season-ending knee injury in the second half of the season opener. Daniels was considered the No. 2 quarterback for USC's spring practice, which never commenced.

Daniels is still recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery. But now 10 months into that rehabilitation, he was cleared for most physical work and likely would be limited from only contact in preseason camp, should it start in August.

Coach Kirby Smart continues to emphasize that Georgia's quarterback position remains up for grabs and will be decided through competition. In addition to Daniels and Newman, the Bulldogs have junior Stetson Bennett, redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, freshman Carson Beck and at least three invited walk-ons to compete playing time at quarterback.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound Daniels was considered the No. 3 quarterback prospect in the nation in the 2019 class. But he reclassified and graduated from high school early and enrolled at USC in June 2018.

With the Trojans, Daniels became the second USC freshman quarterback to start a season opener, joining Matt Barkley. In 2018, he would start 11 games (all but one because of a concussion) and completed 216 of 363 passes (59.5%) for 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Daniels completed 15 of 17 passes in the first half against Fresno State in last year’s opener before the injury.

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