Well-traveled quarterback JT Daniels has committed to transfer to Rice, sources told ESPN.
Daniels, a former national high school player of the year, will move to his fourth college home. He has played at USC, Georgia and West Virginia, going a combined 17-12 as a starter.
The appeal of competing in a pro-style system at Rice under coach Mike Bloomgren and offensive coordinator Marques Tuiasosopo proved appealing to Daniels, according to sources.
There’s a familiarity between Daniels and Bloomgren, who began recruiting the quarterback when he was a high school freshman in 2015. Back then, Bloomgren served as Stanford’s offensive coordinator. Bloomgren also attempted to recruit Daniels to Rice the previous two times he transferred. When Tuiasosopo was an assistant at multiple schools in the Pac-12, he also recruited Daniels.
Daniels started 10 games for West Virginia this past season, throwing for 2,107 yards and 13 touchdowns. At Georgia, Daniels went 3-0 as a starter during the Bulldogs’ national title campaign in 2021, including the season-opening win over Clemson.
Daniels, who will turn 23 in February, has generally been a productive player in college, throwing for 6,947 yards and 45 touchdowns. After a breakout true freshman year at USC in 2018, throwing for 2,672 yards, injuries derailed each of his next three seasons.
The move should be a boon to Rice, as Daniels will be the highest-rated recruit to play there since ESPN began recruiting rankings in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Daniels was ESPN’s No. 64 overall recruit in 2018.
Rice has struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position, starting five different signal-callers over the past two years. None posted a QBR higher than 47. They had a combined completion rate of 59%, per ESPN Stats & Info. For his career, Daniels has a total QBR of 70 and has completed 63% of his passes.
Rice projects to return starters at every position other than quarterback and center. That includes star wide receiver Luke McCaffrey, who projects as the program’s top offensive target after 723 yards receiving this year. He is the younger brother of San Francisco 49ers running back and former Stanford star Christian McCaffrey.
Daniels will arrive with a 2023 recruiting class considered the best in school history, with a talent uptick indicative of the increased competition that comes with Rice jumping from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference next year. The AAC will be the fourth conference that Daniels has played in, along with the Pac-12, SEC and Big 12.
Rice is coming off the school’s first bowl game since 2014 and just its 13th in more than a century of football.
Rice will open at Texas in 2023. If Daniels wins the starting job at Rice, he would register his third career start at Texas for his third different school. He played in Austin in 2018 while at USC and started this past season there with West Virginia.