Jayden Daniels relieved after uncertainty of a 2020 season for ASU
All Arizona State sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels could do was wait.
Like many people across the country and the world, any sense of normalcy for Daniels and his teammates would have to be on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was one of the guys that was down because I didn’t know what to do without football for the first time in fall,” Daniels said while visiting the Maroon Monsoon show Thursday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
But after a modified college football schedule for 2020 was canceled by the Pac-12 back in mid-August, he can return to football on Thursday.
The conference’s football is set to come back with a seven-game schedule beginning Nov. 6 that runs through mid-December.
“It was a big relief off the shoulders,” Daniels said. “I’m very excited to play.”
That relief has to be felt across the entirety of ASU’s program, as they have real aspirations in the Pac-12 and could have seen a season of potentially contending go to waste.
“For all of us, it was very frustrating,” Daniels said. “Going in with the mindset, ‘Oh, we have the team to win a Pac-12 championship this year’ and then coronavirus hit and we had to postpone everything. It took a toll on us.”
Not many returning players in the conference have more momentum heading into the 2020 season than Daniels.
As a true freshman, Daniels threw for 2,943 yards, which is a school record for freshmen. He was the third freshman in school history to win his first career start and owns five of the 12 300-plus passing yard performances by freshmen in ASU history.
Last season, Daniels’ throws came on a 60.7% completion rate, resulting in 17 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 125 times for 355 yards and three scores.
Daniels was named a Freshman All-American by ESPN and was an honorable mention for the Pac-12 Conference’s Freshman Offensive Player of the Year.
His head coach Herm Edwards said in late June that the Sun Devils will now shift to an offense centralized around Daniels’ ability.
“I told him when the season was over, ‘OK, it’s your offense. We’re gonna build it around you now,’” he told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo.
“I want him to enjoy being a college football player, I really do. With that being said, I think we gotta build a team around him. And that is the mindset this year to be quite honest — to build an offense around the quarterback’s skill set.”
Daniels is ready to show what he can do inside that offense.
“This offense is gonna be very exciting,” Daniels said. “It’s very entertaining and we’re gonna put up a lot of points.”