While the starting QB competition was in full swing during fall camp, Cal coaches did not hesitate to turn their focus towards the future, landing an official visit with highly touted recruit Jayden Daniels. Daniels is a somewhat local recruit, hailing from Cajon High School in San Bernadino. He placed Cal in his Top 8 schools back in May, but the visit was a sign that we may actually have a shot at him. If we actually do, then he is sure to be a huge priority for the Bears leading up to signing day, as his 4-star, Elite 11 talent would be a huge add for the team. This right here is the type of local recruit that Cal needs in order for us to get to the next level.
Don’t get me wrong, Cal’s new coaching staff has been doing a great job recruiting. We have gotten an abundance of 3-star players who will develop into very good college football players. However, Bears fans (yes, you guys in the comments) have expressed concern over the fact that we have not been able to step up into the upper tier of the California pipeline. Daniels could be our ticket in.
So who is Jayden Daniels as a player? Well first off, in the 2019 class, he is the #100 ranked player overall and the #2 Dual Threat quarterback in the nation. Yeah, no wonder why we aren’t the only teams getting in on the fun.
Why is he graded so high, you wonder? Well, from all angles, it isn’t very difficult to understand why at 6’3”, he has a prototypical quarterback frame. He is a bit on the lighter side at 174 pounds (and judging by the eye test as well), but he should easily be able to fill into his frame as he gets older.
Furthermore, he has been a three year starter on a pretty good Cajon football team. He followed a great freshman year with a disappointing sophomore year, but absolutely exploded in his junior year. In that season, he completed 70% of his passes for 5,139 yards, pairing that with a ridiculous 62 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions. When you combine that with 193 attempts on the ground for 1,292 more yards and an additional 15 touchdowns, you can start to see the combination of polish and potential that college scouts can only dream of.
You can watch as many Hudl and miscellaneous highlight videos of Daniels as you want (trust me, they are fun), but I think this video right here sums up Daniels perfectly.
If you are looking for a weakness as far as Daniels’ skillset goes, then good luck. He has a great arm and throws a pretty accurate ball as well. As far as his legs, he moves around like a skill position player and seemingly glides when reaching full speed. He is the total true package when you are looking to develop a quarterback.
So, as a coach, you have all of the tools. However, Daniels isn’t perfect by any means. While he does do a good job using scrambling ability both to pass and to run, he has questionable decision making at times and can get a little bit Johnny Manziel-esque reckless, resulting in plays from off balance throws where he doesn’t have his feet set, to throwing it up into quadruple coverage (watch the video), to throwing cross field to an open receiver that was open only because he scrambled for about half of a quarter on one play. We saw with Manziel, this creativeness can be a blessing but can also get you into a lot of trouble. In essence, Daniels has amazing playmaking ability, but definitely needs a fair bit of coaching in order to hone his oozing amounts of raw talent.
It is hard to look at Daniels and not get excited. He is some good coaching away from being an elite NCAA starting quarterback, and we just happen to have an amazing coaching staff. Now, the real question is if we have an actual shot at him. According to the experts, no. I can’t find anyone who actually predicts that he will be playing his games in Memorial Stadium come 2020. However, I definitely wouldn’t write off Wilcox and co. that easily. Regardless, this is a story to watch, as Daniels is the type of program changing player that we would ever so happily welcome into our family.
Whag at do you think Bears fans? Do we have a shot at him? How would you like to see him in blue and gold?