UGA football roster: DJ Daniel primed for a second year surge at cornerback

When injuries afflicted UGA football at the cornerback position, junior college transfer DJ Daniel stepped up and had a really good season.

UGA football signed a pair of future superstar defensive backs last season in Tyrique Stevenson and Lewis Cine. The Bulldogs also signed a cornerback from Georgia Military College who was already prepared for the SEC limelight in DJ Daniel.

The 6-0, 180 lbs. cornerback is entering his last season with the Georgia Bulldogs after spending his first two seasons in Milledgeville. Daniel appeared in 13 games last season and started the last 11 games. He was thrust into the starting job when Tyson Campbell succumbed to an injury early in the year.

Daniel handled the instant promotion very well. He finished the year with eight pass deflections, including one against Notre Dame to force a turnover on downs with 48 seconds left in regulation. A deflection late in the first half of the SEC Championship Game prevented LSU from taking a 24-3 lead into halftime and kept Georgia in the ballgame somewhat.

The moments where Daniel could show off his ball skills were few and far between because quarterbacks rarely threw his way. Daniel isn’t the elite shutdown corner his teammate Eric Stokes is, but he does present an overwhelming mismatch against teams without great receiving corps. Secondary targets aren’t going to beat Daniel very often, even then, the catch isn’t a guarantee with Daniels’ ball skills.

Daniel is a fantastic athlete and it shows whenever the ball goes his way. He’s a blazing fast sprinter known for a 4.4 40-yard-dash time, and his leaping ability is well documented. Daniel doesn’t just excel in coverage downfield, he also covers screens and crossing routes very well and is an excellent tackler.

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Daniel helps makes Georgia’sgroup of cornerbacks one of the best in the nation. Daniel is competing with Campbell for a starting role in 2020, but the loser of the battle isn’t missing much playing time. Both guys are too good to stand on the sideline when healthy.