JT Daniels haven’t officially won the starting quarterback job at USC, however he is receiving some pre-season love. The sophomore quarterback was named to the Maxwell Award watch list Monday morning. The award is given to the most outstanding college football player in the nation.
Daniels is currently in the middle of a battle with Matt Fink and Jack Sears for the starting quarterback job. With new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and the installation of the air raid, the possibilities of having an improved season is indeed there. Daniels being on the list due to that plus being the odds on favorite to reclaim the starting job come week one.
Daniels came into USC with a lot of hype last season after reclassifying to enroll a year early. However, his freshman season wasn’t what many expected. While Daniels threw for 2,672 yards and averaged just under 250 yards per game which was third in the Pac-12. The then true freshman threw for 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in an offense that saw historic lows for the first time since 2000.
With Graham Harrell running the offense and coaching the quarterbacks, there’s hopes for improvement. The air raid scheme allows for players to just make players and for quarterbacks to make simple and quick reads. The complete opposite from last year’s “gumbo” offense that asked for him to make plays that he wasn’t quite used to make yet.
Other notable players from the Pac-12 that made the watch list are Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault and quarterback Steven Montez, Arizona quarterback Kahlil Tate and running back J.J. Taylor, Utah running back Zach Moss, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin, Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello, and Washington quarterback Jacob Easton. All of which the Trojans will face this season. USC will also see a couple of quarterbacks in out of conference play in Notre Dame’s Ian Book and BYU’s Zach Wilson.
The Maxwell Football club started handing out the award in 1937. In it’s existence O.J. Simpson, Charles White, and Marcus Allen are they only Trojans to take home the award. They also won the Heisman trophy the same season. To this day, Allen is the last Trojan to win the Maxwell Award which happened back in 1981. Matt Leinart (2004) and Reggie Bush (2005) were the closet to winning the Maxwell Award. They would however, win the Heisman trophy.