Former USC, Georgia and West Virginia quarterback JT Daniels committed to Rice Wednesday during the early signing period. Entering his sixth year in college football, Daniels is the highest-rated recruit in Owls history. Daniels has thrown for 6,946 yards, 45 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in his winding collegiate journey, which will now take him to a fourth different state and fourth different conference.
Daniels reunited with former USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell at West Virginia this past season, but their arrival did not produce the desired results; the Mountaineers finished 5-7 and ranked No. 58 nationally in total offense. Harrell is headed to Purdue as the offensive coordinator for new coach Ryan Walters, and Daniels is headed to Conference USA.
Rice will likely mark a final chance for Daniels to build on the promise he once showed before multiple injuries derailed his career. He threw for 2,107 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 10 games for the Mountaineers this past season but posted the lowest passer rating of his career.
As a freshman at USC in 2018, Daniels started from the opener and showed considerable promise. A knee injury ended his 2019 season after just one game, however, and Daniels was supplanted by Kedon Slovis for the Trojans' starting job. Daniels returned from the injury late in the 2020 season at Georgia and took over for Stetson Bennett but ultimately lost the job to him in 2021 while dealing with another injury.
Rice is a long-suffering program that hasn't finished with a winning record since 2014. The Owls qualified for the LendingTree Bowl this season but only because of their Academic Progress Rate score allowed them be an exception as a 5-7 program. However, the program is moving to the AAC beginning in 2023. Daniels could apparently still have two seasons of eligibility remaining since he played in just one game during the 2019 season at USC due to injury and logged only four games at Georgia in 2020 during the season impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.