Rice QB Daniels, citing concussion issues, retires


The circuitous playing career of Rice quarterback JT Daniels has come to an end.

Daniels told ESPN on Friday that he has been advised to medically retire from football after suffering multiple concussions. He suffered a concussion against SMU in early November and did not play again this season for the Owls.

Daniels told ESPN that he plans to get into coaching, as he built a prolific network from a playing career that spanned four different schools over six seasons. That included winning a national title at Georgia, as he went 3-0 as a starter during the 2021 title season.

“I’m definitely excited to get into coaching, that’s for sure,” Daniels told ESPN in a phone interview. “I loved playing. I always knew one day I’d coach. I didn’t think it would come this soon. But one day, I knew that’s what I was going to be doing.”

Daniels’ career began at USC as a blue-chip quarterback recruit from nearby Mater Dei, and he was just the second true freshman in school history to start a season opener. After that successful debut, injuries and circumstance prompted a meandering career that saw him start games at Georgia, West Virginia and Rice.

Over six seasons of college football, Daniels finished with 9,390 passing yards and 66 touchdown passes. He was having his best season in 2023 at Rice, as he had a career high in touchdown passes (21) and his second-most throwing yards (2,443) before the injury.

Soon after the injury, Daniels said that doctors advised him to not play anymore.

“I’ve loved every stop I’ve been at and I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been,” he said. “I wouldn’t have changed any of it. A lot of super cool stuff.”

Daniels said he’s uncertain of what level he’d like to coach at. But he said he’s excited to explore the coaching space, as his network is extensive.

“That’s pretty diverse, I’ve played for a lot of guys,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot of guys I had good relationships with. All five times I was a recruit, from high school and college, there’s even more than just guys that I’ve played for. There’s guys I got to know through multiple recruiting processes.”

Daniels’ final stop was a reconnection with Rice coach Mike Bloomgren, who had begun recruiting him as a freshman in high school nearly a decade ago.

Daniels helped Rice to a 6-6 season, which will include a bowl game at the end of the year and was highlighted by a 43-41 upset of Houston early in the season.

“It’s a really great place to be and a great final one as well,” Daniels said of Rice. “Just getting to finally play for [coach] Bloom and [offensive coordinator Marques Tuiasosopo] and finish it out in the offense I grew up with and established my football identity with when I was young.”

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