By the numbers: Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels’ freshman season
There’s a sense of optimism about the Arizona State football team following a three-game winning streak to end the 2019 season including Tuesday’s 20-14 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl win over Florida State.
And there’s a big reason why: soon-to-be sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels.
ASU’s signal-caller was named a freshman All-American by ESPN and honorable mention for Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year en route to an 8-5 record for the Sun Devils on the year.
The dual-threat QB also joined the likes of former ASU quarterbacks Rudy Carpenter and Andrew Walter atop multiple single-season school records despite missing one game due to an injury.
Here’s a look at Daniels’ 2019 campaign by the numbers:
Daniels threw for 2,943 yards in his first season under center for Arizona State, good enough to break Carpenter’s school record for the most passing yards by a freshman (2,273) . That number is also good enough to rank 11th in Arizona State history for passing yards in a single season.
He also averaged 245.3 yards through the air per game, which may have only finished 32nd in the country, but his 14.36 yards per completion and 8.7 yards per attempt ranked ninth and 14th in the nation, respectively. The QB’s passing yards per completion was the best in the Pac-12, while his yards per try finished fourth in the conference.
A freshman has only thrown for 300-plus yards in a game 12 times in school history, five of which belong to Daniels. The signal-caller is now tied with Walter (2004) and Carpenter (2005) for the most 300-plus yard performances in a single-season in ASU history.
Daniels tossed for 17 touchdown passes this season, 11 of which went for at least 25 yards (64.7%). And while his passing scores tally may have only ranked 61st in the nation and eighth in the Pac-12, he finished with the sixth-most TDs among freshmen. Compare that to USC Trojans freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis and Auburn Tigers freshman QB Bo Nix, who came in second with 30 scores and seventh with 16 touchdown passes, respectively.
But perhaps the most remarkable statistic is the number of interceptions Daniels threw in 2019 — or lack thereof, especially as a freshman.
His two interceptions on the year were tied for the fewest picks thrown by quarterbacks with a minimum of 300 passing attempts. He finished the season with a 60.7% completion percentage after completing 205 of 338 tries. Daniels hasn’t thrown a pick in his last 157 attempts and also had a passing efficiency rating of 149.1, which ranked 23rd in the entire country.
Not only can Daniels sling it, but he can also move.
The dual-threat QB amassed 355 rushing yards on 125 attempts on the 2019 campaign, good enough for an average of 2.8 yards per carry. And while his rushing yard total may have only finished 30th in the country among quarterbacks, it was the second-most in the Pac-12 (minimum of 100 attempts). Daniels’ yards per attempt metric was the best in the conference.
If you run the ball 125 times, you’re more than likely to find the end zone eventually.
The freshman quarterback scored three rushing touchdowns for the Sun Devils this season. And again, that tally merely tied for the 49th-most in the nation for QBs, but it did finish tied for fourth in the Pac-12, just two behind Utah Utes’ Tyler Hundley, who led the conference with five.
There’s no doubt that Daniels is the future of Arizona State football, for at least the next two years anyway.
The lack of an interception count really speaks to the maturity the soon-to-be sophomore already has very early on in his Sun Devils career. And with how young the team is as head coach Herm Edwards’ recruits wean out the last of Todd Graham’s — plus the addition of new offensive coordinator Zak Hill — there’s a palpable feeling of excitement that this team can contend for a Pac-12 championship, Rose Bowl title, or perhaps even a national championship.