Perhaps angling to take advantage of a quarterback vacancy should Sam Darnold enter the NFL Draft (as expected), J.T. Daniels, the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2019, is instead reclassifying and will graduate in 2018. According to a report from the Orange County Register, Daniels will attempt to graduate now and enroll at USC next month.
The American Family Insurance ALL-USA first teamer and 2017 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year Daniels is coming off a whirlwind three-year career at Mater Dei which just concluded with a CIF Open Division Bowl Championship. The Monarchs’ undefeated season is expected to land the program a USA TODAY Super 25 national championship; Mater Dei is currently No. 1 in the rankings with their season complete.
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According to the Register, the lone hurdle holding back Daniels’ plan to join the USC recruiting class of 2018 is NCAA approval, though it’s expected that would come in short order, as it often does for high school basketball players who reclassify. Notably, both Marvin Bagley and Jontay Porter reclassified to 2018 late in the summer and then enrolled at Duke and Missouri respectively just days later.
Daniels finishes his high school career with a remarkable 12,014 passing yards and 152 passing touchdowns, with just 14 interceptions. He also had 13 rushing touchdowns and 593 total yards on the ground. His sophomore season was actually more prolific than his recently completed junior campaign, but much of that is down to the number of games he sat out the second half as a junior after the Monarchs built up insurmountable leads.
Assuming Darnold does declare for the 2018 NFL Draft, Daniels will be expected to compete with returning backups Jack Sears and Matt Fink for the 2018 starting job. Sears was considered the decided frontrunner to succeed Darnold, but that was before Daniels decided to reclassify.
Now? The player who starts under center for the Trojans next fall is anyone’s guess.