Brian Kelly: Jayden Daniels is the best player in college football

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater12/07/23


Brian Kelly addresses LSU potential staff changes, transfer portal plan

Jayden Daniels will be in The Big Apple this weekend in hopes of bringing a second Heisman Trophy in the last five years and a third overall to Baton Rouge. Ahead of the ceremony on Saturday, Brian Kelly has no doubt that his quarterback will do exactly that.

Kelly spoke about Daniels’ case in comparison to the other candidates in the race during a press conference this week. He admitted that he watched some of the Pac-12 Championship to not only take in a good matchup but also take note of the play of both Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. as well as Oregon QB Bo Nix.

“I’m a Jayden Daniels fan,” said Kelly. “I was watching the game too – yes. But I was not looking for anyone not to succeed. I wanted them to play their very best. I was looking for a great game and I was looking for both teams to play at their very best. But I wanted to see how he measured up to who was going to be his chief competition.”

“I hadn’t watched them play all year,” Kelly continued. “It wasn’t that I had this opportunity to sit down and watch Oregon play or sit down and watch Washington play. So it was an opportunity for me to sit and watch both of them play.”

Although Penix Jr. only threw for one touchdown in Las Vegas, his 319 yards, 69.2% completion rate, and win in the Pac-12 Championship have put him right there in the mix for the Heisman. Nix remains in the hunt too after going for 239 yards and a trio of passing scores in Las Vegas. Still, with two head-to-head losses to Penix and the Huskies, it may be too much for the Ducks’ quarterback to overcome.

That leads us to Daniels’ candidacy. LSU was unable to give him one more stage by not making it into the SEC Championship this past weekend. Even so, his numbers remain out of this world with nearly 5,000 yards of offense and 50 total touchdowns. Both Penix Jr. and Nix may have him beat in passing and Nix may have a slight edge in efficiency. All in all, though, Daniels’ statistics after putting the Tigers on his back this fall are absurd.

It’ll likely be a close finish once these three and Marvin Harrison Jr. finishing making their rounds in New York this weekend. However, if it were up to Kelly? The Heisman Trophy would have already been signed, sealed, and delivered back to Death Valley.

“My unbiased opinion is Jayden Daniels is the best player in college football,” said Kelly as he cracked a smile.