No. 1 – Jayden Daniels, Quarterback
If it wasn’t obvious enough, Jayden Daniels is the top offensive player to watch for in 2023.
Daniels enters his final season as the presumed LSU Tigers starting quarterback in 2023. Some fans have criticized Daniels for not pushing the ball downfield. Moreover, Brian Kelly admitted his preference for the signal-caller to be more aggressive with throws. Regardless, Daniels proved he could work the short game and run the ball with the best of them.
Daniels came out the gates on fire in 2022 and accounted for 781 yards, eight touchdowns, and no interceptions through the season’s first three games. From there, it was evident to all LSU Tigers fans that Daniels was the rightful QB1.
Daniels entered the transfer portal after three seasons at Arizona State. Later, he committed to Kelly’s LSU Tigers before the 2022 season.
In his first season in the purple and gold, Daniels threw for 2,913 yards, 17 touchdowns, and two interceptions, nearly identical to his freshman year stats. However, fans must remember he did this against the SEC competition compared to the Pac-12 competition in 2019. He also added a career-high in rushing yards and a touchdown with 885 and 11, respectively.
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As a freshman at Arizona State in 2019, Jayden Daniels posted solid numbers. He tossed for 2,943 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. In the COVID-shortened 2020, Daniels only played four games, throwing for 701 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He returned in 2021 and didn’t have the season many expected. Daniels threw for 2,380 yards and ten touchdowns but also ten interceptions.
Coming into his career at LSU, many fans had their doubts about Jayden Daniels. He came into camp and battled with Garrett Nussmeier and freshman Walker Howard for the top quarterback spot. Daniels won the job after a long battle in camp, but Kelly never ruled out the possibility of fans seeing Nussmeier come in at some point.
Daniels had the opportunity to enter his name in the NFL Draft, but after talks with Kelly, he decided to stay for his senior season. We’ll see if he can push the ball downfield more with newcomers Aaron Anderson and Shelton Sampson Jr in 2023.