Jalon Daniels learned a lot after his freshman season
Last year Jalon Daniels didn’t have much time before he was playing in a Big 12 game. Daniels arrived on campus in June and by the time the Baylor game came around he was the starter. Before he was 18 years old, he was playing on national television.
He’s using this spring to play catch-up and learn some things he didn’t get to experience last year.
“This is my first spring ball, so a lot is being thrown at me,” he said. “Especially since we have a new offense, but it doesn't matter. I feel like it's the same as fall camp. All the quarterbacks are pushing each other just like how Thomas MacVittie, Miles Fallin, and Miles Kendrick did last season.
“I just got here from high school, graduated in June and got here in June as well. So before the season, it was a lot of work I had to put in. But they felt that they could trust me as a starting quarterback against Baylor. So, I feel like I'm able to take that experience and carry it onto the spring.”
Last year he played in seven games and started six. He had to be a quick learner and often was scrambling or under pressure. It was definitely a learning experience, but he believes he will be better from it.
“Coming in from a high school player, getting thrown into the fire, being able to play my first college game, starting against Baylor,” he said. “Learning a lot about the defenses and what they do when they bring the pressure. A lot of defensive keys, of course, and then just learning how to be a leader, especially from people like MK, Miles Fallin and older guys just all pushing each other and teaching me how to become a better leader.”
Daniels had to do on-the-job training last year. He played 339 snaps and was sacked 28 times, pressured another 91 times, and had 23 scrambles. After a difficult freshman campaign, he believes he came out of it a better quarterback.
He was asked what he has improved and what he learned.
“My comfortability and my decision-making,” he said. “That has been a big improvement since last season being a freshman. I was always scared about making a mistake because I was a freshman. Now that I'm more decisive, I could see it in practice and I see things, rotation and everything in the defense easier.”
This spring Daniels is getting double-duty when it comes to coaching. Travis Partridge is working with the quarterbacks this spring. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord is also assisting the quarterbacks giving the group two coaches.
Daniels knew about Partridge when he was the quarterbacks coach at UT-Martin and extended him a scholarship.
“Coach TP always makes sure I keep my head up,” Daniels said. “He knows what I can do and what all of the rest of the quarterbacks can do. So, it doesn't matter what the situation is. He's going to keep all of our heads up.”