ATHENS — Georgia football’s most decorated defensive legend has officially jumped on JT Daniels‘ bandwagon.
“Good God, JT Daniels, I didn’t expect that Homie, at all, and I’ve seen JT Daniels play,” UGA College Football Hall of Fame selection David Pollack said on his ESPN podcast this week.
“I’ve never seen that version of JT Daniels, that was insane from a guy that hasn’t really trusted his knee and hasn’t felt confident enough to really be on the field, and want to be on the field? To a guy that looked like, this game’s easy, it was an unbelievable turn that I was completely shocked by.”
Pollack said Daniels’ 28-of-38, 401-yard, 4-TD passing performance last Saturday promotes hope for the future.
“If I”m a Georgia fan, now I get to see some really cool things that might lead to what the future (could hold),” Pollack said. “When you look at their offense, and you’re frustrated, (Jermaine) Burton No. 7 is a true freshman, he looks like he’s a freak and Jermaine shows you glimpses all the time. When JT Daniels comes in the game, he goes for 200 (197) yards.
“You’ve got (George) Pickens who all the sudden comes back alive. So I think down the road, Georgia, next season… I think JT Daniels, if you are a Georgia fan, he gives you so much hope for next year. You want to see him with (offensive coordinator) Todd Monken get comfortable in this season and watch him to continue to progress,” Pollack said.
“The poise? I was blown away. Dude hadn’t played in forever, and he was just calm and cool,” Pollack said. “I will be the first to tell you I was wrong. Because when I went and watched him this summer, and saw him and Jamie Newman throw, when I’d first heard about JT Daniels I said, ‘that’s another Jake Fromm coming to Georgia.’
“And when those two dudes went out and threw. Jamie throws the ball, that things whistles when it comes out. JT Daniels throws that thing, and it’s stronger. I was like ‘Holy Cow!’ Like, that dude has a rocket.
“But the accuracy, the movement ability, even though he’s more of a statue, he moved exceptionally well in the pocket. A free rusher comes, a and he spun out, Pickens’ rollout touchdown pass when he threw it to him. I bet Todd Monken was like ‘Hallellujah, this is so much fun to play NFL style football and throw passes.’ ”
That was the plan when the USC transfer and former 5-star prospect first arrived on the UGA campus in May, before he wasn’t cleared to play in the season-opening game.
Now, 2 1/2 months later, Daniels has “arrived” once again.
Daniels was named the SEC’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week, along with the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week, and the Maxwell Award Player of the Week.
It seems every national media personality has welcomed Daniels to the stardom club after his breathtaking aerial debut.
One wonders: Did anyone do any lip reading when Coach Kirby Smart turned his head, gaze skyward, to see four Daniels’ passes of more than 40 yards rocket downfield on plays that surely had easier check down throws available?
“We’ll want him to continue to improve,” Smart said on Wednesday, “and make good decisions and not force things.”
To be clear, Smart said he’s not completely convinced a pivotal shift has occurred in terms of an offensive “transformation.”
A defensive wizard himself, Smart knows coaches will work overtime to find the hole in Daniels’ swing and exploit it.
Daniels was, nonetheless, also recognized by Kirk Herbstreit as the nation’s top performing player of the week — even as Florida’s Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones and Najee Harris make their cases for Heisman Trophy consideration.
Sorry for the late post! Here are my top performing players of WEEK 12
1-JT Daniels, @GeorgiaFootball
2-Jaret Patterson, @UBFootball
3-Zaven Collins, @TulsaFootball
4-Brandon Joseph, @NUFBFamily
5-Darrian Beavers, @GoBearcatsFB
6-Kenny Pickett, @Pitt_FB pic.twitter.com/SBzxTpqq2L
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 25, 2020