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TOP 10 TIGERS OF 2023: #1 JAYDEN DANIELS

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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN


Following LSU's regular season finale victory over A&M on Senior Day & their 35-31 win over Wisconsin in the Reliaquest Bowl, finishing 10-3 over 13 games, yet another season is in the books, the final fall of the SEC West before conference realignment begins next August.

    Now, as the off-season is in full swing ahead of Spring ball, we have a full picture of who stood out as the 10 best Tigers of 2023....without further explanation, we're going to dive right in, just as we've done every season in which we've covered the team:



2023 TOP 10 COUNTDOWN SO FAR


AND NOW.....#1.....THE BEST TIGER OF 2023 IS....


#1 JAYDEN DANIELS

2023 #s (12 STARTS)

4,946 TOTAL YARDS

3,812 PASSING YARDS

40 TD PASSES

1,134 RUSHING YARDS

10 RUSHING TDs


...Those he's closest to call him "that kid"....

...Many fans favored the stylish abbreviation, "JD5"....

...Others, simply dub him by his birth name "Jayden Daniels"....

...But after his legendary 2023 season, you can now rightfully call him a "Heisman-winner"...

In 2023, Daniels put together one of the most statistically overwhelming displays in college football history, elevating his legacy to where he is now regarded among the top 10 or even top 5 single greatest Tigers in program history.
Setting all-time college football, SEC, and LSU records at every turn as he led the Tigers to a juggernaut offensive showing, JD5 was honored by season's end with the Heisman, Unitas, Walter Camp, and Davey O'Brien awards, while named SEC Offensive Player of the Year, AP College Football Player Of the Year, consensus All-American, and First-Team All-SEC, Daniels stylishly finished one of the most decorated & historic campaigns from any LSU Tiger.

Game after game, JD5 accomplished supernatural feats on the field, laying opponents to waste with his legs or bypassing their entire existence through the air, proving to be one of, if not the greatest dual threat quarterback in the annals of college football:



Averaging a disgusting 10.71 yards per play, Daniels amassed an FBS-high 4,946 total yards, passing for 3,812 & 40 TDs (ranking 3rd and 1st respectively), rushing for 1,134 yards (1st among QBs) capped off by 10 additional scores on the ground as he gassed defenses for a ridiculous 8.4 yards per carry.....a league high not just in 2023, but in 3 of the last 4 collegiate seasons.

Tying multiple Joe Burrow touchdown records (5 passing TDs in a half & 8 total scores during a single game), the newest Tiger Heisman walked unafraid in the face of history....prepared to make his own.

Carrying the team over his shoulder to 10 wins throughout a topsy turvy 2023, a campaign where LSU could not depend on their defense, Daniels' chemistry with 1,000 yard receiving duo Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr exploded into the most automatic offensive feverdream the SEC has witnessed since Joe Burrow and Co.


Under former Tigers offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, Daniels, receivers Nabers, Thomas & Kyren Lacy, tight end Mason Taylor, running back Logan Diggs, and their Joe Moore Award finalist O-line led the nation in scoring offense, 3rd down efficiency, red zone scoring, yards per play, yards per game, plays over 20 yards, and many other statistical categories, nipping at the heels of 2019 LSU's G.O.A.T offensive juggernaut.

More than supplying raw numbers or Jayden's obvious significance to the team, it is the manner in which Daniels settled & navigated LSU's troubling, post-Title IX scandal-laden waters that will define a major portion of his legacy.


The quarterback's poise & winning mentality smoothed over a moment of incredible coaching and roster transition by leading the Tigers to wins over eternal SEC rivals Alabama, @ Auburn, @ Florida, Ole Miss, and @ Arkansas in year one, capped off by a trip to the SEC Championship Game.

Although year two wasn't as successful in a team sense, as an individual, JD5 not only improved upon his strong 2022 output, he became a transcendental "history-making machine".

In Daniels, Head Coach Brian Kelly found his ultimate weapon, the "motherfucker of all dual threat invention", fronting consecutive 10 win seasons during Coach Kelly's solid yet difficult first two years among the SEC.


On a crisp November night inside a party-hearty Tiger Stadium, That Kid put on a symphonic exhibition of footballing ecstasy, turning Gator defenders into origami, breaking ankles as if he were auditioning for the role of Allen Iverson in an upcoming Spike Lee-helmed biopic, tossing the ball with such precision it even startled and won over his biggest haters.....on his epic, gashing marathon runs, through the teeth of Florida's helpless defense or racing down the sidelines untouched by human hand or flailing limb, everyone knew they'd just witnessed ultimate greatness.

Or what about Jayden's all-world passing displays, specifically against Miss State, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss?

On the mountaintop of moments?

While dealing with deep rib contusions and near fractures, Daniels put the team on his back in a comeback win on the road over top 10 Mizzou, leading the charge through his heroic game-winning touchdown run from over 40 yards.



When his team needed him to deliver, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, JD5 always seemed to find a way, igniting his offensive teammates to their own record-setting, breakout years, before even setting his offensive coordinator up as a Broyles Award finalist (plus a major payday & move to Notre Dame).

Everywhere you look, JD5 helped those around him become the best version of themselves, from teammates to coaches:
Without him, LSU would've hovered around the .500 mark over the past two seasons.
With him, the Tigers competed in an SEC Championship Game, beat 20 opponents across 2 seasons, generated an offensive juggernaut that either came close to equaling or in some cases even topping the statistics of 2019 LSU's G.O.A.T unit, led the Tigers to 7 comeback wins down 10+ points, built a strong culture rooted in work ethic within the locker room, and at every turn, rewrote his name all over the college football record books, consequently supplying the program's 3rd Heisman Trophy.

Really, no one is surprised here...

For the second straight season, QB Jayden Daniels seals the #1 spot on our season-ending list as the best Tiger of 2023, but more, he was one of the greatest Tigers in program history....and what a pleasure it was to witness his elevation into the pantheon of ultimate Tiger greats.

FOR ANOTHER ANGLE ON JD5'S LEGENDARY 2023 SEASON, CHECK OUT OUR POPULAR "EYE OF THE TIGER" PIECE HERE

MORE LSUOdyssey JD5 CONTENT:


by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2024 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

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2 Comments


Kudos to you, Lonn! Your Top 10 Tigers Series has been nothing short of spectacular! We have all been blessed to have JD5 leading the way these last two years. There were so many who doubted him. He answered the critics by proving Brian Kelly made the correct decision in selecting him as QB1. Jayden is definitely in my top 5 Tigers list! 💜💛💜🐯

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it's quite the undertaking but I love it! I could've copied and pasted from earlier articles for the top 3 Tigers on this list, but I was never gonna do that. Other publications absolutely would've. I like to capture things from a new angle each time.

you're the best Jamer and your friendship + support isn't taken for granted and is always loved and appreciated & needed.

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