ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels to return for senior season

Michelle Gardner
Arizona Republic

It wasn't the junior season quarterback Jayden Daniels wanted or expected. So he is returning to Arizona State for a senior season, the athlete indicated on social media posts this morning.

His mother, Regina Jackson, also confirmed the news in a text message.

Daniels connected on 186 of 280 passes for 2,221 yards with 10 touchdowns but had nine interceptions after coming into the season having thrown only three in his first two years combined (16 games).

The San Bernardino, California native also ran for 670 yards and six touchdowns, including a dazzling 48-yard run in the Sun Devils' 38-15 Territorial Cup win over Arizona.

More:Did Arizona State football's Jayden Daniels make right choice returning for senior season?

He burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2019 and threw for 2,943 yards with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He led the team to a last-second win over a highly-ranked Michigan State team in his first collegiate road win. There were two other significant victories that season as well — a road win over Cal, and his signature performance in a win over then-No. 6 Oregon.

In that 31-28 win over the Ducks, Daniels threw for a career-high 408 yards and three touchdowns, outplaying future first round pick Justin Herbert.

He has struggled to match that productivity in the last two seasons. The 2020 campaign was shortened to four games due to COVID-19 when the first and second games were separated by a month. He was also adapting to a new offense and a new group of wide receivers.

More:Spencer Rattler transfer to Arizona State football? ESPN host shoots down ASU speculation

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) passes as Oregon State defensive back Akili Arnold (0) comes in for a hit during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Corvallis, Ore.

While the interceptions were up this season, Daniels did improve on his efficiency, completing 66.4 percent, up from 58.3 last season. It was the highest completion percentage of any quarterback in the Pac-12.

There may have been signs that pointed in the direction of Daniels returning earlier this week. Local product Spencer Rattler decided to leave Oklahoma and enter the transfer portal and there was much speculation that the Sun Devils were a natural fit.

But then ESPN's Matt Barrie tweeted out that Rattler was not coming to ASU which seemed to indicate that Daniels would be back so the team wouldn't need Rattler.

In addition, Daniels is particularly close to ASU head coach Herm Edwards. There had been much speculation Edwards would likely not return due to the underwhelming showing of the team this season, coupled with the ongoing NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations. But after Saturday's game athletic Director Ray Anderson told the players Edwards would be in his normal position come next season.

The word from Daniels was the second bit of good news the team got this week. The other came from defensive tackle Jermayne Lole, who indicated he too would return. Lole has been out the entire season with a torn triceps sustained in August.

Daniels and the Sun Devils finished the regular season at 8-4 overall and 6-3 in Pac-12 play. Word will come on Sunday about which bowl game they will be headed to.

Lucas accepts invite

Senior cornerback Chase Lucas has accepted an invitation to participate in the 97trh annual East-West Shine Game on Feb. 3 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Lucas, a product of Chandler High School, has started 49 games for the Sun Devils and was one of the team captains this season. He recorded 30 tackles and six breakups  in 10 games this season.

Reach the reporter at Michelle.Gardner@gannett.com or 602 444-4783.  Follow her on Twitter @MGardnerSports.

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