Georgia Football: 3 monumental juniors who must stay for their final year

George Pickens Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
George Pickens Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Georgia Football
Georgia Football /

JT Daniels. . player. 814. . .

Let’s be honest 2021 was not the season we all expected JT Daniels to have. Few foresaw Daniels with just 722 yards and seven touchdowns as we enter the business end of Georgia football’s season.

Those who saw Daniels as the savior of Georgia football have been bitterly disappointed to see an injured Daniels slip into the role of clean-up player this season. This duty has not stopped Daniels’ lack of contribution from becoming a controversy — something Smart has often forcibly rallied against in recent years.

Now with Daniels fit and the defeat to Alabama still fresh in Georgia fans’ minds, talk has turned once again to Daniels wrestling back the controls of the team and guiding them against Michigan.

Smart said he would continue to monitor the situation day-to-day as we get closer to the Orange Bowl, suggesting there is a chance Daniels may feature. Though Smart has been loyal to current starting quarterback Stetson Bennett, history tells us that Smart will remain faithful to his QB1, at least to begin with, in the Orange Bowl game.

This situation is not to say Daniels won’t have his say in how Georgia’s season will end. Could Daniels have a Jalen Hurts type end to his Dawg career?

With a championship ring on his finger, Daniels may feel that this is the perfect time to cash in on the end of his relatively short career. But herein lies the problem. Daniels was injured in California at USC and has had an injury-plagued time in Athens. In both these situations, Daniels has realized that replacement quarterbacks who have snatched the opportunity are not keen to give it back.

But, even if Daniels has a fairytale end to the season, should he be declaring for the draft? Or should he consider transferring? The answer to both is no. Daniels is someone who, if he stays healthy, can help the Dawgs have some experience in the quarterback room by returning.

Bennett could return, but it’s unlikely, so instead of complicating his college career even more by transferring or testing the draft waters, he needs to stay. Sure, Georgia has talented guys behind him, but it’ll give him a good test to see if he is genuinely an NFL guy.

Daniels must evaluate if 2022 recruit Gunnar Stockton will come in and grab the keys to the Dawgs juggernaut. However, returning to Athens for a great 2022 season, especially with the next player we discuss, would have Daniels front and center in NFL Draft scouts’ minds.