San Bernadino, California. Ever heard of it? Possibly. It isn’t necessarily the greatest place to live, with 34.6% of its residents living in poverty (second only to Detroit) and an extremely high crime rate.
Maybe you don’t know a whole lot about this grossly impoverished city, but you probably do know about Arizona State’s star QB Jayden Daniels.
Daniels was born and raised in San Bernadino, eventually attending school at Cajon High School. While at Cajon, Daniels put up some of the most eye-popping numbers by a high school quarterback in history.
As a 4 year starter, he threw for a CIF-Southern Section record 14,007 yards, while also picking up 3,645 yards on the ground. Not only that, but he also scored a total of 211 TDs in his time with the Cowboys.
While at the helm, he led Cajon to a 44-10 record, which is remarkable considering how competitive football is in the Golden State.
Recruiting wise, Daniels was a gem. The 247 composite rankings had him pegged as the 35th best player in the country and 3rd in the state.
He had offers from nearly everywhere, including the likes of Alabama, LSU, and Ohio State.
This begs the question, why ASU? Why go to a program that had only won 5 bowl games since 2000, compared to national powerhouses?
ASU wasn’t even recruiting Daniels very hard, up until roughly a month before his commitment. He fell in love with the Sun Devils on his visit and committed shortly after his senior year.
One major reason he picked Arizona State was his opportunity to play early.
Their QB of the past 3 years, Manny Wilkins, had graduated, leaving the starting job open. Daniels capitalized and was named the Devils’ starting QB in August of 2019.
Fast forward to late November, when ASU took on the Oregon Ducks. Oregon was the number 6 team in the country, and fighting for a potential playoff berth. Daniels lit up their so-called “elite” defense with 408 passing yards and 3 TDs. A star was born. The entire country now knew that the kid from San Bernadino was going to be a problem for the foreseeable future. Soon, Daniels will lead Arizona State into yet another season, this time with his eyes set on wins, division championships, conference championships, and heck, maybe even the Heisman Trophy.
Photo: The Athletic