The quarterback battle has ended. USC Head coach Clay Helton has announced that sophomore JT Daniels will once again be the starting quarterback heading following Tuesday’s practice. True freshman Kedon Slovis has been named as the back up to Daniels.
The sophomore quarterback regained his starting status after beating out Jack Sears, Matt Fink, and Kedon Slovis in a quarterback battle that was opened up by new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. The decision to name Daniels as the starter doesn’t come as a surprise if you've been following the quarterback battle. Nobody really separated themselves from each other from spring and fall camp. However, during USC’s fall showcase Daniels was the better quarterback.
“He’s done a wonderful job with the system.” Said Helton during Tuesday’s post practice media scrum. “From his accuracy, his decision making, getting the ball out on rhythm, and just being consistent everyday.”
Daniels now has a chance to redeem himself following a less than stellar freshman season last year. Despite throwing for over 2,600 yards, Daniels had 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and a few freshman moments in games as well. With a new offense that caters to the passing game and making quick decisions, Daniels could have the bounce back season that some are predicting. He has a chance to get his season off on the right foot on August 31st against Fresno State.
Just because Daniels has the spot, doesn’t mean he can get complacent. Helton urged the sophomore to keep working and to not slack off with the starting job.
Slovis being named as the back up quarterback comes as a surprise too many. The three star quarterback out of Scottsdale, Arizona enrolled early for spring camp and has consistently impressed moving forward. What led to the decision to place Slovis above Sears and Fink on the depth chart? Consistency. The true freshman has shown consistency through spring camp, fall camp, and the fall showcase and it was enough for Helton and Harrell to move him up. It is possible that Slovis could redshirt should Daniels stay healthy.
As for Sears and Fink? Much like last season, they’ll look to stay ready for their opportunity. Look for one of the two to step right up like last season should Daniels get injured or struggles. The other starting positions will be named the night before the team takes the field to face Fresno State.