Who is the best freshman QB in the nation?
- Andrew Luck - Stanford (62%, 53 Votes)
- Tate Forcier - Michigan (14%, 12 Votes)
- BJ Daniels - South Florida (14%, 12 Votes)
- Matt Barkley - USC (10%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 85
BJ Daniels, the redshirt freshman QB for the South Florida Bulls, was thrust into the spotlight earlier than expected when senior starter Matt Grothe suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Daniels was expected to become South Florida’s QB of the future after the 2009 season, but the injury thrust him into the starting role, and at the most difficult of times – when the Bulls were undefeated and facing the Florida State Seminoles. This could have turned out to be a brutal start for the kid, but in fact turned out to be a coming-out party for the highly-talented true freshman from Tallahassee.
Daniels Grew Up A Seminoles Fan
Daniels’ father, Bruce, was a housing director at Florida State when BJ was born and the family actually lived on the FSU campus for the first seven years of B.J.’s life. He grew up watching Charlie Ward dominate at QB with the Seminoles, go on to win the Heisman, and eventually follow his basketball dreams to a career in the NBA. In similar fashion, BJ Daniels is a two-sport star who chose South Florida partly because they would let him play both football and basketball, and partly because he was not recruited by Florida State.
“The demands and expectations he puts on himself are second to none. That’s the thing I have to be really careful about with him because he’s so hard on himself.” – USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales
At 6′ 1″, 210 pounds, Daniels is an amazing athlete who runs a 4.55 forty. He was named the All-Big Bend Player of the Year in both football and basketball by the Tallahassee Democrat following his senior season in high school, which is believed to be the first time ever that one prepster has accomplished that feat. He was also highly touted as a five star recruit and was ranked as having the fifth strongest arm of all high school recruits by Rivals.com. As a senior at Lincoln, Daniels passed for more than 2,500 yards and a school-record 34 touchdowns to go with nearly 1,000 yards rushing and 12 more TDs.
Daniels Faced Challenge Of A Lifetime
As talented and well-prepared as any true freshman could be, nothing could have prepared him for the task he was faced with far sooner than anyone expected – taking over for Matt Grothe and leading the Bulls against The Seminoles in Tallahassee, his hometown, in front of a lifetime of family and friends, and a stadium full of enemy fans. But his demeanor, talent, and coaching allowed him to stay focused and calm.
“I consider myself a pretty mellow, even-keel guy,” – BJ Daniels
“That’s his demeanor. There’s a lot being said about this game: 80,000 people. His first start. But that’s his stage. He lives for that kind of opportunity. He performs better in those situations in most cases. That won’t bother him at all.” – BJ’s Dad Bruce Daniels
A Huge Victory For Daniels And The Bulls
After their huge upset win over Florida State, Daniels had survived his trial by fire. He is now the big man on campus at South Florida, and will be leading their football program for several years to come. But there are questions to be answered, and concerns to be addressed.
Two Sports May Be One Too Many
Yes, Charlie Ward did it, and so have many others. But playing two sports in college at the top level is incredibly difficult to pull off, especially nowadays when lifelong dedication and year-round commitment are the norm, not the exception in Division I sports. The recruiting efforts at South Florida are already behind the eight ball when competing with the likes of Florida State, Florida, and Miami, and the commitment of Daniels at QB could become a question mark for top players that are considering the South Florida program.
An Athlete, A Quarterback, or Both?
The other question, especially in college football, is whether or not a player is a great athlete who happens to be playing quarterback, or a great quarterback who happens to be a great athlete. In NCAA football this type of quarterback tends to have tremendous success. On the NFL level, no so much. Will Daniels someday figure his greatest chance at a professional sports career will be in basketball, following his childhood hero Charlie Ward into the NBA and relegating football to simply being an exciting hobby during his collegiate years? Or will football play center stage in Daniels’ career, driving him to become a future Heisman candidate and continuing the climb of South Florida football from the ranks of a sideshow to one of the main stages of Florida football?
“This guy is not just an athlete playing quarterback, he’s a quarterback” – Jesse Palmer – ESPN
Daniels is a true freshman, and there’s a lot of time for this to all play out. Shoot me a comment and let me know what you think – will Daniels be a superstar Heisman candidate and NFL quarterback someday, or will basketball become his road to glory in the NBA? Either way he’s going to be an interesting guy to watch.