HOOVER, Ala. — JT Daniels arrived at SEC Media Days on Tuesday wearing a tie under his sports coat rather than the turtleneck that he prefers.
By the time the Georgia quarterback had left, he had put the opening game with Clemson into perspective reflected on the challenging start he has had in his college career and been elevated to Heisman Trophy favorite per oddsmakers.
All in all, not a bad day’s work, even if it was only the start of “Talking Season” at the Wynfrey Hotel at the SEC Kickoff event.
The actual opening kickoff for the Bulldogs is at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 against Clemson at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. It’s a game Daniels looks forward to, but also, keeps in perspective.
“It’s Clemson-Georgia, it’s two really good teams,” Daniels said. “You can win Week One, you can beat Clemson by 100 and have a terrible season, or you could lose to Clemson by 100 and have a great rest of the season,
“I think it’s important to keep in perspective that all it is, is the Week One game. As fun as it is competing against a really great team, let Week One be Week One.”
Daniels sounds wise beyond his years with his ability to see things for what they are and make the most of them, such as last season when he wasn’t able to play in a game until the seventh game while his surgically repaired knee healed.
The former 5-star and high school national champion from Mater Dai admits, it has been a rougher ride in the collegiate ranks.
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“In high school, everything went exactly as I wanted it to, then in college, it was completely the opposite,” Daniels told Emily Gagnon of CBS46. “I won the starting job (at USC), great, then after that we went 5-7, we missed a bowl game at USC.
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“I wasn’t good, tear my ACL the first game of the next year, and then I transfer,” Daniels said. “The start of the (2020) season is tough, I feel I’m ready to play, but my knee’s not, Coach is monitoring the situation and we’re just trying to get ready.
“Finally at Mississippi State it all kind of came together.”
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Daniels had proven himself a leader before he took his first snap at Georgia by the way he handled himself amid the adversity of not playing early.