In an unexpected move, LSU senior quarterback Jayden Daniels, projected to be a top pick in the upcoming NFL draft, has decided not to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Wisconsin on January 1. Despite leading the Tigers to a commendable 9-3 season and securing the Heisman Trophy, Daniels has chosen to end his collegiate career and focus on his future in the professional league.
This decision diverges from the norm, especially considering that previous Heisman winners typically participate in bowl games, even if their teams aren’t in the College Football playoffs. Notably, seven out of the last Heisman winners since the inception of the college football playoffs in 2014 have played in postseason games during the year they received the prestigious award.
Addressing his decision in a video announcement, Daniels expressed gratitude and reflected on the conclusion of his collegiate journey. “I want to say thank you to everyone who made this happen, but all great things must come to an end,” he stated. “I feel better about the state of the program with the quarterback moving forward. No matter what, I promise this will not be the last time y’all see That Kid around, because this is my city and my second home.”
Expected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, Daniels, aged 23, will now be closely evaluated by teams alongside other quarterback prospects like Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. Garrett Nussmeier, the backup quarterback, is set to take the field against Wisconsin, while Daniels has assured his presence at the game to support his team.
Reflecting on his remarkable college career, Daniels spent three seasons at Arizona State before transferring to LSU for his final two years. In the 2023 season, he delivered one of the best performances in college football history, completing 72.2% of his passes for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns and four interceptions. His achievements include leading the nation in total offense, passing efficiency, points responsible for, and rushing yards per carry.
Notably, Daniels became only the second player in SEC history to pass for 3,500 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season, a feat previously achieved by Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012. In a standout game against Florida on Nov. 11, Daniels became the first player in FBS history to throw for 350 yards and rush for over 200 yards in a single game, contributing 606 yards (372 passing, 234 rushing) to LSU’s 701 total yards in a 52-35 victory. His exceptional season earned him prestigious awards, including the Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year, and Associated Press Player of the Year.