Stopping Daniels, tall task for Clemson defense

Stopping Daniels, tall task for Clemson defense

Football

Stopping Daniels, tall task for Clemson defense

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JT Daniels asserted himself as the starting quarterback at Georgia the end of the 2020 season when he took the reins from Stetson Bennet IV.

Daniels joined the Bulldogs last spring after a knee injury in the 2019 season opener against Fresno State forced him to miss his entire second season at USC.

The same injury kept him off the field to start the season for Georgia but didn’t seem to have a huge effect on him at the end of the 2020 season as he led his team to four straight wins to close out the year.

What should the Tigers expect from Daniels on the field on Sept. 4 at Bank of America Stadium in the Duke’s Mayo Classic?

Daniels looked exceptional in the Bulldogs’ final four games completing 80-of-119 pass for a 67.2 completion percentage, 1,231 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior also averaged 10.3 yards per passing attempt.

The California native picked up where he left off at the Georgia spring game. Daniels went 28-for-31 for 324 yards and three touchdowns.

Under head coach Kirby Smart,  the Bulldogs had just four 300-yard passing performances. But Daniels hit that mark twice with 401 in his first start against Mississippi State and 392 in the Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati.

After closing out the season on a four-game win streak and come from behind win over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl with Daniels at the helm expectations are high in Athens with virtually the entire Georgia offense returning to the fold.

Georgia returns seven starters on offense but will likely be without arguably its most dynamic weapon, wide receiver George Pickens, after he tore his ACL during spring practice. But Daniels still has Kearis Jackson at wideout as well as a stall of young receivers and Zamir White at running back.

The Bulldogs also picked up tight end Arik Gilbert who transferred out of LSU following the 2020 season. The pickup could cause matchup problems for Clemson in September.

It will be interesting to see how Daniels handles the environment of a top five matchup in Charlotte, N.C. but Daniels will certainly test the Clemson secondary.

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