The WVU Mountaineers’ outlook on the upcoming 2022 college football season just got a lot brighter.
Earlier this week, former Georgia standout quarterback JT Daniels announced he is transferring to Morgantown to play with WVU. He notified head coach Neal Brown of his decision on Wednesday morning.
The move is massive news for the Mountaineers. Not only were they unsure of which unproven signal caller would win the starting position this season, but Daniels is also a top-caliber player. He’s likely earning the starting nod at most college programs this fall.
With Jarret Doege moving on to Western Kentucky, this couldn’t have happened at a better time for WVU.
Daniels began the 2021 season as the starter at UGA, although he ended up losing his position to Stetson Bennett. The Bulldogs claimed the National Championship over Alabama behind Bennett’s solid performance.
Even though Daniels’ title ring won’t come as the starter, he was more than formidable at Georgia. In two years, he went 7-0, completing over 69% of his passes for 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
WVU opens its campaign with the Backyard Brawl in Pittsburgh on Sept. 1, and Mountain State sports bettors should be very excited.
JT Daniels transfers to WVU
Daniels didn’t just play at one legendary college football program. Before ending up at UGA, he started his collegiate career in Los Angeles at USC.
Several other schools attempted to lure Daniels to their campus during this latest transfer, including the SEC’s Missouri and the Pac-12’s Oregon State.
Luckily, the quarterback liked his chances in Morgantown the best. According to an interview with ESPN, Daniels said:
“Going up and down the roster, I feel like they have very, very good pieces everywhere. It feels like a great fit for [a] quarterback. I feel like there’s a really, really, really good team that I’m going to step into and do my part to contribute.”
Part of the reason WVU is the chosen destination is because of its quality roster already in place. The offense features five linemen returning to their spots and a few capable playmakers around the QB.
Receivers Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Sam James are back, in addition to running back Tony Mathis Jr. Both wideouts caught 42 passes a year ago, while Mathis Jr. looked good down the stretch.
If the line can stay healthy and perform consistently, then the WVU offense should see some significant improvement.
Daniels has always been highly regarded. He left high school as an ESPN 300 recruit and entered last season as one of the few names on the shortlist for Heisman favorite.
He’s got the potential to have an amazing year, and this could translate to him being one of the first players to hear their name at the next NFL draft.
Daniels’ connection with the Mountaineers
Beyond the roster, Daniels selected WVU in part because of his connection with a new coach on the staff. Graham Harrell, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, called plays for Daniels at USC in 2019.
This should make for an easy shift for the QB in learning a different offense. Daniels discussed his comfort in having experience with the coach already. He said:
“It definitely helped knowing Graham coming into it and having a really good relationship with him, knowing that I trust that offense and that system, and I believe in it. I also feel really comfortable with Coach Brown and the ideas that he has and the way that he runs a program.”
WVU hired Harrell back in January to help elevate this offense. While the running backs might not love this, his “Air Raid” attack typically generates lots of points from a vertical passing game.
The Mountaineers may look a little more potent with the football this season.
Daniels knows he’s running out of opportunities to perform at his best at the college level. His emphasis on staying on the field is clear. He said, “The No. 1 thing [that I need to prove] is that I can stay healthy. If there’s one thing I haven’t proven, it’s that. I’ve missed 35 games in three years.”
Hopefully, the Mountaineers will have their newest quarterback for 13 contests in 2022.
College football odds at WV sportsbooks
Even though all of the odds for this new season aren’t available yet at West Virginia sportsbooks, there are a few for college football bettors.
One intriguing market now involves WVU, as its latest transfer is near the top of the list for this year’s Heisman Trophy.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook WV, Daniels is tied for 13th for the best odds to claim this year’s coveted award. Bettors can put a little action down on his odds of +5000 to take home the hardware.
He’s certainly a long shot, considering most Heisman winners play for teams that are contending for a title. However, Daniels isn’t too far from the top tier of guys, with just three players significantly above the rest.
DraftKings shows Ohio State’s CJ Stroud (+250) as the overall favorite, followed closely by last year’s recipient in Bryce Young (+350) from Alabama. Oklahoma transfer Caleb Williams is third with odds of +750 after his move to USC with coach Lincoln Riley.
The Mountain State’s online sportsbooks will roll out more college football futures markets as the summer approaches.