When the clock hit 0:00 on Saturday night, many that follow the Georgia football program, either in the capacity as a loyal fan or a media member, knew that the display put on by debuting Georgia quarterback was significant. However, I don’t believe even the most ardent and optimistic UGA homer could have predicted how significant. In a sport where the position of quarterback drives the fortunes of both college powerhouses and NFL orgranizaitons, JT Daniels’s 401 yard, 4 touchdown game versus Mississippi State appears to be making wide ranging reverberations in the college and pro ranks.
For starters, Georgia was slotted at number 9 in the debut of this year’s College Football Playoff rankings. Honestly, when I saw this, I was shocked! However, upon further reflection, it was obvious that the College Football Playoff Committee was impressed by the play of JT Daniels. The newfound explosivity of the Georgia offense was enough to garner a consensus of top 10 respect from the committee members. Given that the quarterback position had been the focal point of Georgia’s failures against Alabama and Florida, this revitalizing and key factor makes sense when it comes to boosting Georgia’s rankings. It remains to be seen if JT’s hot hand translates week to week, but at the very least, it has improbably positioned the Dawgs higher than most thought in the playoff picture.
Secondly, the breakout 2020 debut by Daniels has also bolstered his NFL Draft prospects. Yes, after just one game, albeit an impressive one, CBS Sports has mocked Daniels as the 16th overall pick, a 1st rounder, to the Chicago Bears. This development does two things. One, this shows how desperate NFL franchises are to find a quarterback to build their organization around. Two, it is a big boost to the recruiting pitch for Kirby Smart, Todd Monken, Buster Faulkner, and the rest of the UGA offensive staff. The number 9 ranking on a ‘down year’, and the fact that a quarterback who has been at the helm of Monken’s system for 2 weeks and only one game, show just how well thought of Georgia’s program is under Kirby Smart. Despite not winning the long awaited national championship yet, Kirby Smart has raised UGA to a level on which the CFP committee buys stock in its equity and NFL scouts and GMs in its ability to develop talent.
It’s crazy that after the next 3 to 4 games, JT Daniels could be off to the NFL and Georgia left once again without a clear picture of who their quarterback will be heading into 2021. However, the impact that Daniels has already made in just one game cannot be overstated. In a what have you done for me lately society, Daniels’s stock is rising. Personally I’d like to see him come back and have a full year at the helm for Georgia. After all, if 1 400 yard game could get him mocked in the first round. What would a potential Heisman candidacy do for him? Number 1 overall? That outcome is uncertain and something JT will have to weight. One thing that now is certain, is that the always interesting QB situation at Georgia will remain such throughout the remainder of this season and on into the ensuing offseason.