The news was actually made official by USC, which was sure to remind its fans in an announcement that entering the portal is not the same as leaving the school. Daniels will be able to have contact with other programs to discuss a potential transfer, but the door remains open for him to be a part of the Trojans in 2020.
"We have been working with JT and his family, as well as our compliance office, to help him navigate the process of entering his name in the transfer portal," USC coach Clay Helton said. "It is his desire to explore all of his options going into the 2020 season. We will continue to support JT in every way possible and help him through his decision, including the option of staying on with our football team. JT is a terrific person, student, player and valued member of our football family."
Daniels appeared set to be the face of a revamped USC offense under the leadership of new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell heading into his sophomore year in 2019 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the season against Fresno State. Daniels was replaced by true freshman Kedon Slovis. By the end of the year, Slovis was considered among the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12 and top freshman in the country, being named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, FWAA Freshman All-American and FWAA National Freshman of the Year Semifinalist.
Daniels should be able to capitalize on what he showed during his true freshman year in 2018 after a full recovery from injury. A five-star prospect, Daniels graduated from high school early and became just the second true freshman quarterback to ever start the season opener at USC. Daniels started 11 games, throwing for 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
"I love this university, coaching staff and team," Daniels said in a statement posted to social media. "To me it is in my best interest to explore all my options going into the 2020 season. I will remain in contact with the coaching staff through the process. USC remains one of my options, and that door has remained open for me."
There was no guarantee that Daniels would win the starting job over Slovis in 2020, so seeing him open up to other possibilities should not come as a huge surprise. It's encouraging for USC that the relationship remains apparently healthy, as both school and player will see what the market looks like for a quarterback who could be immediately eligible with a waiver because of all the time missed to injury in 2019.