USC Football: Clay Helton Names Trojans Starting QB

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The USC football program has announced its starting quarterback. Late Sunday night, Trojans head coach Clay Helton announced that it will be true freshman JT Daniels who lines up under center for the team’s Week 1 meeting with UNLV on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Daniels edged out redshirt sophomore Matt Fink, redshirt freshman Jack Sears and redshirt sophomore Holden Thomas for the job.

“We had a very healthy quarterback competition this year with four incredible young men,” Helton said in a statement. “All are tremendous people, teammates and football players. In the end, JT Daniels has earned the starting position and will be the starter against UNLV.

“As you can imagine JT was excited when we let him know, but his uncanny maturity kept him focused on what is next. Matt, Jack and Holden handled the decision with class and grace as I expected, and I reminded each that they need to keep pushing to be ready to play when called upon.”

Daniels, a five-star recruit out of Mater Dei High School and the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country, was the 2017 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year. He will be faced with the task of replacing Sam Darnold, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

As you would expect, Daniels is excited to get his college career started.

“I am honored that Coach Helton picked me as the starter,” Daniels said. “I understand this is a huge responsibility and I need to work hard to be prepared to handle it. It was a tight competition between all the quarterbacks throughout camp.”

Daniels becomes the second true freshman in USC history to start a season-opener at quarterback. The other was Matt Barkley, who was coincidentally also a Mater Dei grad and Gatorade National Player of the Year.