After a down 2021 season, the LSU Tigers entered the 2022 college football season full of pressure and expectations under new head coach Brian Kelly. Thanks to Jayden Daniels, the Tigers bounced back and made it to the SEC Championship Game. To make things better, Daniels announced he will return to Baton Rouge for the 2023 season.

A transfer from Arizona State, Daniels is completing 68.5% of his passes for 2,774 yards with 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also added 818 yards on the ground for 11 scores.

Despite all of his elite display, LSU fell short of the College Football Playoff. The Tigers were No. 5 in the ranking entering the final week of the regular season. However, they lost 38-23 to the unranked Texas A&M Aggies. Then, they lost 50-30 to the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs in the conference championship game.

Still, Daniels' decision to stay in college could be a game-changer for the FBS as a whole. With that being said, here are some reasons why Jayden Daniels' return makes LSU a dark-horse 2023 College Football Playoff contender.

3. He will play under Brian Kelly once again

The 2022 season marked the start of a new era for LSU. After six seasons with the team, head coach Ed Orgeron left the program as he reached an agreement with the school. With Orgeron, the Tigers went 51-20 and won the national championship in the 2019 season with Joe Burrow under center.

To replace Orgeron, LSU hired Brian Kelly, the longtime Notre Dame head coach who led the Fighting Irish to a CFP appearance.

With Kelly, the Tigers showed significant improvement from the 2021 season. They became a competitive team once again, and the arrival of Daniels certainly helped.

Since the quarterback will be returning for the 2023 season, Kelly won't need to find a replacement right away. While Garrett Nussmeier did show some promise, he might not be ready to take over the starting job. With Daniels, Kelly can build upon what LSU had in 2022 instead of reinventing its entire system to adapt to Nussmeier's strengths and weaknesses.

Also, Daniels will have another chance to play for a successful college football head coach. Not only he will grow as a player, but he can compete for bigger things and improve his résumé before turning pro.

2. Jayden Daniels is not afraid of the big stage

While LSU's regular season did not end on a good note, the team had some great moments. The highlight goes to the Tigers' back-to-back victories against then-No. 7 Ole Miss and then-No. 6 Alabama. Notably, LSU was unranked when it defeated the Rebels.

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Not only that, Daniels had some of the best games of his career in that span. Versus Ole Miss, he went 21-for-28 for 248 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He then added 121 rushing yards and three scores in the 45-20 upset win.

Against the Crimson Tide, Daniels finished with just 182 passing yards for two touchdowns. His biggest impact came in overtime when he ran 25 yards for a touchdown and followed with a clutch 2-point conversion pass for a 32-31 victory.

Those games, especially versus Alabama, showed that Daniels is not afraid of the big stage. With Florida State, Mississippi State and Alabama once again on their 2023 schedule, the Tigers will need the best of the best on the field. Fortunately for them, Daniels should be their starting signal-caller. If LSU can get wins against those schools, it could be in a solid position for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

1. Jayden Daniels will finally have continuity in his career

Since he entered college, Daniels has had many ups and downs, some of which were out of his control. He became the first true freshman to be named a starting quarterback for the Arizona State Sun Devils. He had an excellent campaign with almost 3,000 passing yards and 17 touchdowns as the Sun Devils went 8-4.

When he was set for another big year, the pandemic hit. Because of that, Arizona State's 2020 season was cut short as the team played only four games. This surely played a role in his development as his time on the field, both in games and practice, was limited due to NCAA safety regulations.

In 2021, his first full season in two years, he threw for just 2,380 yards, down from his freshman campaign. Also, he had only 10 passing touchdowns with a career-worst 10 picks.

He then changed homes in 2022 as he transferred to Baton Rouge. This shows that, throughout his entire college career, Daniels has been surrounded by uncertainty and changes constantly.

With his decision to stay for his senior year, Daniels will finally have the chance to have some continuity in his college career. That will allow him to improve what he has as opposed to starting all over again.

All things considered, Daniels' return to LSU is key to a big season for the Tigers. With him, they become dark-horse contenders for the College Football Playoff in 2023.