Star quarterback Jayden Daniels entered his name in the transfer portal on Feb. 18. Three three-year starter who impressed with a versatile style of play by being a dual-threat quarterback, the team and the University will miss him for the 2022 football season.
Coming out of Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California, Daniels was listed as a four-star prospect and second-ranked dual quarterback in the nation, according to 247Sports.
Among highly-talented players who can make big plays and have the strength to be "dangerous in the RPO game with his vision, quick trigger and running ability," Daniels had all the right tools to be successful at the position, according to Charles Power of 247Sports.
Daniels struggled with accuracy as a freshman but was able to impress when making plays for the Sun Devils. Learning on the fly is something all freshmen have to learn, regardless of the sport they play. Daniels seemed to continue to play his game and complete 60.7% of his passes for 2,943 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Not only did he throw 17 touchdowns, he also ran in the ball three times for a score. According to ESPN's Bill Connelly, Daniels was the fifth-best freshman quarterback during the 2019 season and ranked as a top 75 quarterback in the country by PFF's Cam Mellor. Daniels' biggest accomplishment was throwing for 408 yards and three touchdowns against the fifth-ranked Oregon Ducks at Sun Devil Stadium.
Following an impressive freshman campaign, Daniels looked to improve his play and fire up his team in the Pac-12. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a halt in the Pac-12 2020 season, and the league began its games later than other power five conferences.
This resulted in six canceled games, two postponed games and four games being played. In those four games, Daniels threw for 701 yards and five touchdowns to go along with four rushing touchdowns. He led an amazing comeback against the No. 21 USC where the Sun Devils would lose by one point and destroy rival UA 70-7 to close out the season.
The 2021 season was a bit of a down year for Daniels. He threw a career-high in interceptions, 10, and only threw for 10 touchdowns. Nevertheless, he did run for 710 yards and six touchdowns. This past season showed how effective he was on the run and what that meant for the Sun Devil offense.
A player with this caliber and experience was something the Sun Devils needed to continue to try and push some noise in the Pac-12. Especially being a captain and a three-year starter, that experience alone is what many great teams have. Without a star offensive weapon at the most important position in football, his absence will hurt the Sun Devils next season. It is so important to have a lethal weapon at quarterback because it makes a team more dangerous and hard to stop.
The team will need other players to step up with Daniels officially out of the lineup. Players like wide receivers Ricky Pearsall and LV Bunkley-Shelton are going to need to have stellar years in order for ASU to be effective on offense.
But without Daniels as quarterback again, how will they be able to accomplish this, even though the two are very talented?
The transfer of Paul Tyson from Alabama is a great pickup for the Sun Devils, but for someone who backed up Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young all last season with limited attempts, it really is hard to guess how effective this pocket-passer will be for ASU.
Sun Devil football is going to have some big shoes to fill for the 2022 season as they will be without Daniels. With the season just months away, their hopes of winning the Pac-12 will keep going down without a star at quarterback.
Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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Addison Kalmbach is a reporter for The State Press Sports desk. He has previously worked for Detroit City FC and PHOENIX Magazine.