Hey, don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled when JT Daniels’ transfer to Georgia was announced and just as thrilled at the news his waiver for this season was granted. (The gnashing of teeth in certain quarters about the latter is an underrated pleasure, too.) Our fan base seems pretty giddy about the possibilities, and why not?
But maybe we ought to tap on the brakes a little, first, for a couple of reasons.
To start with, Daniels’ health is a question until it’s not. If there’s one thing we’re painfully familiar with over the past decade, it’s recovery time from ACL injuries. And as of right now, Daniels hasn’t even been medically cleared.
… Before divulging into Daniels’ odds to take over, though, 247Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins provided an in-depth update on the former USC quarterback’s health.
“He actually tore his ACL on the last play of the first half in the first game last season, and so, everything in there was torn and ripped up, (but) he’s doing good,” Biggins said on Monday’s episode of 247Sports’ Junkyard Dawgcast with Dawgs247’s Jake Rowe. “Still hasn’t been a hundred percent cleared medically yet, but he’s been out and throwing for some time now. He’s obviously out there in Athens. He’s been throwing and doing the 7 on 7. Arm feels great. Last time we mentioned on this pod, it’s something about the humidity or hand — almost like a Spiderman thing — saying that the ball almost sticks to your hand a little bit better. He’s actually added five to 10 yards on his deep ball.
“But they’re hoping, I think, to hear within a week — maybe a week and a half — if they are fully medically cleared. So he’s in the best shape they’ve had (him) in a long time. His weight is down. They recently found out that he had a milk allergy that he, honestly, didn’t even know he had. So he grew up drinking almond milk and switched over to Muscle Milk, and since they found out about this a few months ago, he’s dropped almost 15 to 20 pounds.
“So great shape, feeling good, arms feels great. Really, really good, in terms of straight-line running. Needs to continue to work on that whole lateral movement, but a long-winded way of saying I think they’re hoping to get that medical clearance, probably, within the next week or so.”
There’s a lot of happy talk there, but “(n)eeds to continue to work on that whole lateral movement” raises a red flag, and that’s even before you get to the mental recovery phase. He’s not there yet. The good thing is that, with another experienced quarterback on the roster, there’s no need to rush it.
Besides the knee, there’s another issue that also should resonate with us.
Daniels had a lot of surrounding talent when he was the starter at USC, but his position coach left something to be desired. Sound familiar? He may be a very good fit for what Monken likes to do offensively, but he is in the same boat as Newman with regard to being coached up and he’s been in Athens for a much shorter time than has Newman.
Obviously, there are way too many variables in play to predict how the competition between the two goes, but the idea that Daniels is walking in ready to take the reins probably ought to be served with a grain of salt.