Washington Commanders QB Jayden Daniels Talks About Path From Arizona State to NFL

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Long before being selected in the NFL Draft by the Washington Commanders when Jayden Daniels was just 14 years old he was dominating as a quarterback against 17 and 18 year olds and knew then football was his primary sport.

Before then the future Commanders top draft pick of the general manager Adam Peters era had dreams of being in the NBA before committing fully to football. A decision that surely seems to have been the best to make.

Another decision Daniels made along the path that led him to Washington was to sign on at Arizona State Univesity to quarterback the Sun Devils football team. After being recruited by schools like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and even LSU, Daniels chose a team closer to home in California.


Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs the

Daniels told host Kevin Hart on a recent episode of Cold As Balls on the LOL Network that it was the opportunity presented to him that took him to ASU.

“Coach Herm Edwards, (then Sun Devils defensive coordinator) Antonio Pierce, they recruited me and they told me if I come here, I got the opportunity to start as a freshman,” Daniels said. “I never sat the bench, honestly, throughout my whole high school career. They had three other guys (and)hey told me, if you think you’re better than them, come prove it.”

Daniels did just that, becoming the first true freshman in Sun Devils history to start the team’s opening game in 2019, a 30-7 win over Kent State where he accounted for nearly 300 yards of offense and threw two touchdown passes.

After three seasons with Arizona State Daniels chose to transfer, moving to LSU in the process.

“(There) was a lot going on at Arizona State,” Daniels told Hart when asked about the decision to leave ASU. “I seen two of my closest friends, (Houston Texans quarterback) C.J. Stroud and (Carolina Panthers quarterback) Bryce Young, I seen them perform at a high level (at) Alabama (and) Ohio State. So when I entered the transfer portal, LSU was one of the schools that came.”

Daniels says LSU didn’t promise him anything but a chance to win the starting quarterback job in Baton Rouge. And once again, he rose to the challenge.

He started all 14 games his first year at LSU, including a bowl game win over the Purdue Boilermakers.

In year two, he won the Heisman Trophy, an award at one point he thought he wouldn’t even be a finalist for.

“After the Alabama game, we had just lost, I got knocked out,” Daniels recalled. “I felt like I wasn’t going to be a finalist.”

Every athlete knows, however, each game is another opportunity. And Daniels took full advantage of his next one, against the Florida Gators.

“I was the first playing college football history to throw for over 350 yards and rush for over 200 yards,” Daniels said.

To be exact, Daniels threw for 372 yards and ran for another 234. He scored five touchdowns total, and LSU won 52-35 over the 22nd ranked team in the country.

His final two touchdowns, both passes to receiver Brian Thomas Jr., put the game away and put Daniels right back in the mix for the award he eventually won over other finalists like Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and fellow quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon).

All four men are in the NFL now, but only one is expected to have the ball in his hands every snap from the start of his rookie season just like he did at Arizona State and in his first season with LSU after that.

Catch the full interview of Jayden Daniels with Kevin Hart on Cold As Balls, here.

Stick with CommanderGamedayf or more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the 2024 NFL Draft.

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