Jayden Daniels Ready for Unprecedented 2020 Season
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Story by Rosaura Wardsworth, Graduate Student; Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication (PR Emphasis)
Sun Devil Football quarterback Jayden Daniels joined Pac-12 Networks to share his thoughts on the upcoming season during the 2020 Pac-12 Football South Division Student-Athlete media press conference webinar.
Covering everything from offensive strategy, to voting, to social justice, Daniels answered each question with confidence. Members of the media kicked off the line of questioning by asking Daniels what the offense has been working on in Fall practices.
"Last year, we had a tendency of starting slow and always playing from behind," Daniels acknowledged. "So that's one thing that we want to work on with our offense, just starting off fast."
Even as a freshman QB, poise down the stretch has rarely been an issue for Jayden Daniels. Yet, the ASU signal caller acknowledges that the slow starts that plagued the Sun Devil offense have to be a thing of the past if they wish to achieve loftier goals https://t.co/ORqYgaKuWY
— DevilsDigest.com (@DevilsDigest) October 23, 2020
Daniels explained that the offense would not be the only thing to that looks stronger this year. Despite a unique summer, Daniels worked tirelessly on his own and with Football Sports Performance Head Coach Joe Connelly to transform his body.
"That's one thing that I took very seriously this offseason," Daniels reflected. "Coming in, just trying to transform my body to something that we can build on. Just keep building on from there for future days."
The first game on the schedule this season is in familiar territory for the Southern California native, as the Sun Devils travel to USC on November 7.
Frank Darby on Jayden Daniels
"Physically, he got bigger. Throwing the ball, I feel like he got way stronger now so it's like when we're throwing deep balls and stuff it's like, 'Damn, J5 is a little bit different. I got to up my stuff a little bit more.' He grew up." pic.twitter.com/T9FqNTafKw
— SunDevilSource.com (@SunDevilSource) October 20, 2020
"There's a lot of different things that we bring to the table," Daniels remarked. "So being able to play a good team in USC first, you know this is going to be a good one."
His role as a team leader has expanded, which is reflected in his status as one of four team captains. With that title comes more responsibility, a reality that Daniels recognizes and embraces. With the presidential election coming up, Daniels made sure to use his voice by touching on the importance of voting.
"I just feel like if we want change in the world then we have to vote," Daniels said. "We all as a team registered to vote."
Daniels explained that he wants the world to change in the coming years and that it was important to not only use his platform for voting, but for social justice as well. He shared that a lot of people take for granted what student-athletes have to say, but there is power in having a united front.
"They see a lot of student athletes voicing their opinions and supporting each other," Daniels mentioned. "I feel like there's gonna be no reason but to force them to change."
Later in the webinar Daniels delved further into exactly what changes he wanted to see and explained his experience as an African American athlete.
"I feel like just me being an African American, you see me and other student-athletes are Black. We shouldn't be scared to walk outside with our hood on and knowing something might happen. Parents shouldn't have to worry about their kids, when they go out to hang out. They shouldn't worry about, 'oh, is my son gonna make it back home?"
His humble and unifying perspective resonates with his teammates and coaching staff, a reason why he is one of the most highly-respected voices on the team.
Daniels ended the webinar by listing a few of his favorite current quarterbacks, ones that he models his game after.
"My favorite quarterback to watch is Deshaun Watson, but recently I've been watching a lot of Kyler Murray. I like what Dak Prescott was doing before he got hurt. Russell Wilson is setting it on fire."
Daniels said he watches these quarterbacks to hone his technique and add to his skill set. After watching him put together one of the best freshman seasons by a quarterback in conference history, Sun Devil fans know an improved Daniels is a scary thought for opposing defenses.