Christmas has come early for Herm Edwards.
The Arizona State head football coach can stop worrying about another program swooping in and stealing away the recruiting gem that so many other top programs in the country had also been courting.
Jayden Daniels, the top dual-threat quarterback in the country among those yet uncommitted to a specific program, just submitted his signed national letter of intent to play for the Sun Devils. The new (2nd year) early signing period began today and runs through Friday. Daniels wasted no time in following through on his oral commitment.
Edwards didn’t have a long stretch of time to sweat out between the time the 6’3″, 185-pound prospect committed, and when he signed. ASU was one of the last suitors to be added to his short list, getting the youngster’s oral commitment just six days ago, which gave the circling sharks in the water little time to try to get him to change his mind.
On the surface, it’s hard to see why adding another quarterback to the cupboard of talent already on board would make much difference. Daniels joins a depth chart that includes eight other hopefuls who are eyeing the starting role next season left vacant with the graduation of Manny Wilkins, who has been directing the ASU offense for the past three seasons.
Daniels wasn’t even the only QB to submit his NLI today. Nathan Long, a four-star prospect ranked by ESPN as the fourth-best dual-threat QB in the class and the No. 1 overall prospect in Oregon, committed back in early June.
In addition to Daniels and Long, there are two redshirt freshmen on board, as well as a true freshman; a redshirt sophomore; and three redshirt juniors.
Two of those are local graduates: Grayson Barry is a redshirt junior who attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale and Scottsdale Community College, and Ryan Kelley is a redshirt sophomore from Chandler’s Basha High School.
But Daniels was a high priority for the Sun Devil recruiters. Some analysts consider it one of the most significant catches during the 12 months since Edwards was hired to replace Todd Graham. ASU was able to beat out more than two dozen other interested schools, nine from the Pac-12 Conference and multiple national elites like Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia that put a heavy push on his recruitment.
Some scouts see Daniels as the best dual-threat QB in the country, and 247Sports has him at No. 1.
His numbers at Cajon High School in California were off the charts. During his last two years at Cajon, he produced back-to-back seasons with 6,000 or more all purpose yards. His senior season he completed a stunning 70 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,515 yards and 60 touchdowns — with just four interceptions. In addition, he ran for 1,536 yards and 16 TDs.
A four-year starter, he set a CIF-Southern Section record 14,007 yards and 170 touchdowns during those four years. But he also rushed for another 3,645 yards and 41 touchdowns.
He is coming off a s senior year in which he led Cajon to a 12-win season by averaging 322.5 yards passing and 110 yards rushing.
Both Daniels and Long won’t have to wait long to find out whether they made the right choice. Each is finishing up his senior year early in order to be on campus in time to join spring practice.
Considering that they’re starting at the bottom of a large stack of QB contenders, that’s probably a good idea.