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SEC photo by Jimmie Mitchell / Georgia quarterback JT Daniels speaks at the podium earlier this week at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.

Georgia redshirt junior quarterback JT Daniels is the current favorite to win the 2021 Heisman Trophy.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Daniels began his college career as a Southern California freshman in 2018, with the five-star talent having enrolled after graduating from Mater Dei High School a year early. He transferred to Georgia last spring and discussed life with the Bulldogs earlier this week at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.

Q: Are you more of a Georgia guy at this point, or are you still a California kid?

A: "I definitely have both to me. I think I fit in really well here, and I fit in right away. There were some things that were different, but in terms of me coming to the South, I didn't feel out of place really for a minute. I've fit in with a lot of the activities and what we do out here. I haven't had any problems with any teammates, and it's been just the opposite. I have great relationships with everybody.

"It's been a dream come true as far as how I could have asked for the transfer process to go. It could not have gone better."

Q: You transferred during the pandemic, missed the first half of the season and then threw for 401 yards in your debut against Mississippi State. How do you reflect on last year?

A: "After the season, I looked back and saw a lot of things I wished I had done differently, regardless of what the numbers looked like. There are some things I did well, and there are some things that I'm excited to fix."

Q: Do you follow outlets such as Pro Football Focus that grade the different metrics of your game?

A: "I don't follow any of that. I don't know the metrics or what they measure. Everything I watch and analyze is based on me, the rest of the quarterbacks in the quarterback room, (offensive coordinator) Todd Monken and (head coach) Kirby Smart. What they say is something I will genuinely listen to, because they're the only ones who actually know the system and actually know the context.

"You can make as many numbers as you want. It's just difficult in this sport to understand how many moving pieces that there are if you're not in those meeting rooms. I could watch an entire Ole Miss game, and I could not tell you if Matt Corral did everything perfect or if he didn't do his job once based on what he's taught to do by his coach."

Q: Georgia has experienced multiple injuries at receiver. How difficult has that been for you?

A: "The best thing about our receiving corps is that we have a good three-deep. We have a lot of receivers who are talented and very capable of playing or eventually being ready, and if they are ready by my standards, I don't blink. If they are in there, they will get the ball. It was very tough losing George Pickens, because he is a different breed of receiver.

"George does stuff that humans don't do two to three times a day in practice. I've never seen anyone like him in my entire life. Of course you want George Pickens back, but right now we're more focused on George as a person and that he can get back healthy. If it's not right for his body, then I don't want him back."

Q: USC and Georgia are both tradition-rich programs. Are there more similarities or differences between the two?

A: "There are more differences in the areas, and the programs are not too far apart. When you're in Georgia and especially Athens, it's all football. Georgia is a great school, too, and I think that goes unnoticed. It was unnoticed by me until I got here, because it is really a phenomenal academic institution.

"Georgia cares a lot about football. USC cares about football and they love football. It's just not to the same degree. It doesn't matter who Georgia plays for Sanford Stadium to be packed. It's just a difference in the area."

Q: You only played in four games last season. How excited are you about playing a full year?

A: "It gives me goose bumps thinking about it. I will get to see the Dawg Walk, and I get to see what Sanford looks like filled up. I want to hear what it's like and see the fourth quarter with the red lights.

"There is a lot that has me really excited."

Q: What food from California do you miss the most?

A: "I miss Hawaiian barbecue. They don't have that here. I really just miss the Polynesian culture in general. USC has a lot of Polynesians, and Mater Dei had a lot of Polynesians. A lot of them are really close friends of mine."

Q: What food in Georgia do you like the most?

A: "Zaxby's, and just the chicken sandwich in general. We have Popeyes and we have (Raising) Cane's. We just don't have Zaxby's, and I really like Zaxby's."

Q: What's the funniest reference you've heard when you wear your black turtleneck?

A: "I get called a Bond villain. That's what I usually get. I like it."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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