JT Daniels stunned the college football world Friday as he announced that he would be reclassifying from the recruiting class of 2019 to the class of 2018, and will attend USC.
Out of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High School, Daniels was to be the No. 1 QB in the class of 2019, but apparently has enough credits to graduate a full year early and “reclassify” into the class of 2018, the majority of which signed this week. The move is rarely seen in football, but is actually quite popular in basketball recruiting, due to the less physical nature of hoops.
He announced his intentions via a Twitter video released Friday.
With the very possible early departure of QB Sam Darnold for the NFL, the timing could not be better for the Trojans. Before his junior year, Daniels was 6’2 and 200 pounds, and will likely continue to grow and develop. Daniels, a five-star, chose USC over offers from Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Miami, and most of the nation.
The QB at South Carolina, Jake Bentley, also made a similar move prior to the 2016 season. Bentley has played well for the Gamecocks, and did not struggle more than the typical true freshman would be expected to in his first season.
USC did not sign a class of 2018 QB before Daniels, and most expected the Trojans to land Daniels in the class of 2019 anyhow following his commitment in July. He will now have a legitimate chance to start for the Trojans.
Clay Helton said Sam Darnold’s upcoming NFL Draft decision won’t impact USC’s quarterback recruitment this winter.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) December 20, 2017
The Trojans do not have a quarterback commit in this class. Asked if he’d like to add one, Helton said, “Sure."— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) December 20, 2017
Daniels’ high school stats are amazing. He has over 12,000 career passing yards and a 152-14 TD-INT ratio.
For my money, Daniels is a franchise-level QB, and on par with elite passers like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, the No. 1 and 2 players in the 2018 class who signed with Clemson and Georgia, respectively.