Even with the surprise opt-out of Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman, Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has some decisions to make with the quarterback position. Smart has had some serious talent at that spot since taking over the Bulldogs, but with it, some very difficult choices to make as well. Now, his decision likely comes down to USC transfer JT Daniels vs. D’Wan Mathis.
Just a few years ago, he stuck with Jake Fromm, who led Georgia to a national championship appearance, over Justin Fields. Fromm was a rock solid college starter and a good leader for the team, but he wasn’t seen as the same kind of talent that Fields—a former five-star, No. 2 overall recruit—is. That decision ultimately cost him Fields, who transferred to Ohio State where he broke out as a Heisman finalist last season.
Former Georgia star David Pollack thinks his alma mater may face a similar decision this year. JT Daniels is likely the favorite for the job. The former USC quarterback has had college success and was a high profile addition for the school, before receiving a surprise waiver to play right away. D’Wan Mathis, however, may be the more skilled, dynamic player, Pollack says.
“You’ve got an opportunity now with Mathis and with Daniels,” Pollack said on the ESPN College Football Podcast released Monday, via Saturday Down South. “Daniels is more ready to play right now. He’s got more experience. He can throw it. He’s got a great arm. Mathis has a better arm. Mathis has more mobility. Mathis has more of what Justin Fields was as opposed to what Jake Fromm was, and more upside.”
— ESPN Podcasts (@espnpodcasts) September 21, 2020
There is a chance the decision is made for Smart, of course. JT Daniels has not yet been officially cleared to play, after suffering a torn ACL at USC last August. That injury opened the door for Kedon Slovis to take the Trojans’ QB1 job, prompting the transfer.
“We hope JT will be cleared by Saturday, officially,” Smart said Monday, per Dawg Nation.
As a freshman in 2018, Daniels completed 59.5-percent of his throws for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 11 games for the Trojans.
Mathis was a four-star recruit, who flipped from Ohio State to Georgia after Justin Fields transferred from the Bulldogs to the Buckeyes. He played on scout team for Georgia football last year, after recovering from brain surgery to remove a cyst in 2019.
Georgia opens its season on the road against former UGA assistant Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. ET.