Jayden Daniels wins one of the country’s most prestigious awards for quarterbacks

Jayden Daniels named one of three finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award
Jayden Daniels named one of three finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award. Photo By Royce Stewart

BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Jayden Daniels picked up his first national honor on Thursday as he was named the recipient of the 2023 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation announced.

Daniels learned of winning the award on Thursday morning when John Unitas, son of the legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback, called the LSU senior with the news.

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is presented annually to the nation’s top quarterback who best exemplifies character, scholastic and athletic achievement. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is one of three national awards dedicated to quarterbacks and Daniels is a finalist for the other two – the Manning Award and the Davey O’Brien Award.

Daniels joins Joe Burrow as LSU’s two Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winners. Burrow won the award in 2019.

Daniels becomes the third LSU quarterback to win a national award, joining Burrow and JaMarcus Russell. Burrow won every national award for a quarterback on his way to the Heisman Trophy in 2019, while Russell was the recipient of the Manning Award in 2006.

Daniels’ exciting achievements will be honored on Thursday, December 7, in Baltimore. Two-time Super Bowl Champions and former Baltimore Colt Billy Curry will serve as the keynote speaker at the event. The 2023 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award presentation celebrating Daniels will be livestreamed on the Golden Arm Award YouTube channel – watch live here.

The candidates for the award were selected by the distinguished Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Selection Committee, a group of prominent college football journalists, commentators, announcers, and former players. The award annually recognizes the top senior or upperclassman quarterback set to graduate with their class. Candidates are chosen based on player performance on-and-off the field.

Daniels, who has had the best season of any FBS quarterback with nearly 5,000 total yards of offense, is also a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and the Maxwell Award. The finalists for the Heisman Trophy will be announced on Monday night on ESPN.

Daniels has put together a record-setting season in 2023, leading the nation in total offense (412.2), touchdown passes (40), TDs responsible for (50) and rushing yards by a quarterback (1,134). His pass efficiency rating of 208.0 through 12 games is the best in FBS history. 

The five-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week this year, Daniels is one of only two players in SEC history to pass for 3,500 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season, joining Johnny Manziel who did it in 2012 at Texas A&M.

Daniels is also one of only five players in SEC history to account for 50 touchdowns in a season, joining Heisman Trophy winners Burrow (63), Tim Tebow (55), Cam Newton (51) and Bryce Young (50).

Daniels became the first player in FBS history to pass for 350 yards and rush for 200 yards in a game when he did it in the win over Florida, setting the SEC record for total offense with 606 yards. Daniels passed for 372 yards and rushed for 234 yards in the 52-35 win over the Gators.

A week later, he tied the LSU record for touchdowns in a game with eight (6 passing, 2 rushing) in the win over Georgia State. He tied Burrow’s mark which was set against Oklahoma in 2019.

Daniels has accounted for at least four TDs in nine games this year, one shy of the school record and he’s reached the 400-yard mark in total offense six times. He joined Burrow as the only players in LSU history to have three 500-yard games of total offense in a season.

Overall, Daniels has thrown for 3,812 yards, connecting on 236-of-327 passes with only four interceptions.

Daniels has been the catalyst behind an LSU offense that leads the nation in total offense (547.8) and scoring (46.4). The Tigers are the only team in college football to average 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards a contest. LSU ranks No. 4 nationally in passing yards per game (334.3) and No. 7 in rushing with a 213.5 average.

The LSU offense also features the nation’s leader in receiving yards in Malik Nabers and the top two touchdown producers at wide receiver in Brian Thomas (15) along with Nabers (14).

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Tiger Rag News Services

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