How Washington Commanders QB Jayden Daniels Displayed His ‘Relentlessness’ at LSU


The Washington Commanders went into the NFL Draft seeking a quarterback that could handle adversity and turn it into success. They believe they found him in Jayden Daniels, who they selected with the No. 2 overall pick.

And while everyone will point to his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign, and all the highlight reels that were produced from it, as a major reason the Commanders chose him it’s actually the lowest moment of that year that stands out the most.

Because when LSU was counted out of the College Football Playoffs after getting blown out by the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Daniels was knocked out of the game late by a hit laid on him by future NFL edge defender Dallas Turner, the quarterback responded in historic fashion.

Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) calls a play

In LSU’s regular season contest against Alabama, Turner came rushing into the Tigers’ backfield and laid a hit on Daniels that knocked him out for the rest of what would become the team’s third loss of the season. The loss ended LSU’s chances of making the postseason tournament and when Daniels got knocked out of the game he thought – like most did – he also had been knocked out of the Heisman Trophy race.

At that point, there was arguably nothing more for Daniels to achieve in college, and many in his shoes would have gone into self-preservation mode. But Daniels came out the next week against the Florida Gators, put his team on his back, and became the first quarterback in history to throw for over 350 yards while rushing for more than 200.

“I think it shows his relentlessness and he’s tough,” Locked On LSU host Caroline Fenton said on a recent appearance on Locked On Commanders about the performance. “If I had to choose one word to describe Jayden Daniels it’s ‘tough’ and you can never count him out…I thought his Heisman Trophy hopes were done because that was LSU’s third loss on the season. You don’t traditionally see three-loss quarterbacks win the Heisman Trophy. …But I think it shows his relentlessness that he wasn’t counting himself out.

“Maybe everybody else was. Maybe he had that in the back of his head of, ‘Well, that individual accomplishment is no longer available to me’, but we still got games to play. We still have games to win. We still have goals we want to achieve…So I think it just kind of shows his character, his relentlessness and his dedication to his team that he thought even if he wasn’t going to win the Heisman Trophy, he was still going to do everything that he could to help his teammates.”

It’s that relentless nature, toughness, and ability to perservere that no doubt helped Washington fall in love with Daniels as its next franchise quarterback. And he’s going to need it as the Commanders figure to have a tougher time climbing the divisional ladder than friend C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans did in 2023 in the AFC South.

Whether there’s immediate success or not, Daniels’ toughness and inability to quit will be the key to this rebuilding process general manager Adam Peters and coach Dan Quinn have taken the reins on. And it will be nearly as important as the clear physical talents he brings to the table.

Stick with CommanderGameday for more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the 2024 NFL Draft.

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