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Arizona State makes history, names true freshman Jayden Daniels starting QB

Arizona State made some history on Monday night when the program announced who its starting quarterback would be for 2019.

Herm Edwards and his staff went with Jayden Daniels, a true freshman from California. In doing so, Daniels will become the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Sun Devils. Daniels, a four-star recruit who was ranked No. 57 nationally in the 2019 class by Rivals, beat out redshirt junior Dillon Sterling-Cole and two other freshmen for the job.

Edwards said that Joey Yellen, another true freshman, is currently the No. 2 quarterback ahead of Sterling-Cole, who is dealing with some shoulder soreness.

“I think he manages the game really well. He doesn’t make a lot of bad throws, to be quite honest. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s got a lot of poise,” Edwards said of Daniels, per Rivals.com. “I’ve been around a lot of quarterbacks, and you just have that feel of they just kind of got it. It’s not too big for them.”

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Daniels, listed at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, chose Arizona State late in the recruiting process and enrolled early for spring practice. He has impressed since he stepped on campus, battling it out with Sterling-Cole, the backup to Manny Wilkins for two seasons, and Yellen for the starting spot. Entering preseason camp, it seemed like Daniels was the favorite to win the job.

After announcing his decision to the media, Edwards wanted to make sure Daniels wasn’t quickly anointed as a “savior” for ASU football.

"He’s not the savior, I don’t want to anyone to think that. He’s a freshman quarterback like all freshmen are, and he’s going to do a lot of good things, and sometimes he’s going to make some errors. That’s part of it,” Edwards said.

“I told you folks, there’s going to be about 15 to 20 freshmen that play this year for us. We’ve got a young football team, and these guys are very talented, and the only way to get experience is to play. And the team is going to have to play that way knowing that they got a young guy that’s playing quarterback. That doesn’t bother me one bit, to be quite honest.”

The Sun Devils went 7-6 in Edwards’ first season as head coach. The team opens the 2019 season at home against Kent State on Aug. 29 in a Thursday night game.

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