Summer 2024

Jayden Daniels goes No. 2 in NFL draft to Commanders, knows 'anything is possible' with God

Twelve years ago, Washington used the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft on what it hoped would be a franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III. Six different players have led the team in passing in the 12 seasons since.

Washington owned the No. 2 pick again Thursday night and the Commanders hope they finally found their long-term answer at quarterback in former LSU star Jayden Daniels. He was the second of three straight signal callers selected to begin the draft, going behind USC’s Caleb Williams (Chicago Bears) and ahead of North Carolina’s Drake Maye (New England Patriots). In all, six quarterbacks were taken in the first round, all among the first 12 picks.

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“Washington’s going to get everything out of me as a competitor, a hard worker,” Daniels told NFL Network’s Kaylee Hartung after being picked. “I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and try to help win some football games.”

Daniels’ college career began at Arizona State, where he started 29 games and accounted for 45 total touchdowns over three seasons. He transferred to LSU ahead of the 2022 season and then set new career highs in completions, completion percentage and rushing yards in his first year with the program.

Originally from San Bernardino, California, joining LSU took Daniels out of his comfort zone and away from the people he is closest to. He credits LSU Director of Player Retention Sherman Wilson with helping make his transition as smooth as possible. Part of that process involved refocusing on his relationship with God and surrendering control.

“He’s behind the scenes, but he’s like my right-hand man,” Daniels said of Wilson, according to the LSU athletics website. “Being around him, I kind of got back into my faith more, always giving glory to God. He died on the cross for us; anything is possible with Him. Coming back out here, trying to figure out my life, I wanted to stop trying to put so much pressure on me and just give everything to God, letting Him take care of it.”

Last season, Daniels emerged as one of college football’s biggest stars. He threw for 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns while adding another 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He led the Tigers to a 10-3 record and took home numerous national player of the year awards, including the Heisman Trophy. For that award, Daniels started his acceptance speech by giving glory to God.

“I want to first give thanks to God. … He’s my Rock, my Savior,” Daniels said. “He blessed me with the talents and ability to get here.”

Daniels leaves LSU as the only player in FBS history with 12,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards. As he begins his pro career, he’ll continue trusting in God’s plan and embracing the path the Lord has him on.

“I don’t worry about things I can’t control,” he told LSU’s athletics website. “There’s some stuff where it’s just human nature to have anxiety; you get nervous about it because you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. You can’t predict the unpredictable. So, as I mature, grow up more and dive deeper into my faith, I just know that it’s God’s plan with everything.

“As much as I want to rush stuff, I can’t. What’s there for me and what’s meant for me, God’s always going to provide that. With everything that’s going on right now, God has prepared me for this. He doesn’t give anything to anybody that He knows they can’t handle. To whom much is given, much is required.”

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