Matt Leinart of FOX College Football talks JT Daniels, CIF Southern Section, Pac-12

(L-R) Rob Stone, Robert Smith, Matt Leinart, Dave Wannstedt.

Matt Leinart knows a thing or two about being a quarterback in the CIF Southern Section, and at USC.

The former Heisman winner from USC, Leinart has high praise for all the current quarterbacks on the Trojans roster.

But when asked if he thinks true freshman JT Daniels, himself a product of the tradition-rich Mater Dei program as is Leinart, should start Week 1, Leinart was quick to say yes.

“He’s (Daniels) just different than any true freshman. He’s a little older (because of re-classifying). He’s kinda right where he should be,” Leinart said during a FOX College Football event at FOX Studios on Friday. “He’s just so wise beyond his years. He’s got the talent, but he’s also a football junkie: eats, sleeps, breathes football. He’s got the talent, the moxie and the smarts. He’s pretty special.”

“That quarterback competition (between Daniels, Jack Sears and Matt Fink) has been a good one. We’ll see what happens.”

Leinart, along with his FOX College Football colleagues, think the Pac-12 South is a three-team race between Arizona, Utah and USC.

“USC, talent-wise, is still the best in the division, maybe in the conference,” Leinart said. “Defensively, they are impressive. (It’s a) tough schedule with Stanford and Texas early.”

Along with Joel Klatt, Rob Stone, Robert Smith, and Dave Wannstedt, Leinart spends ’15 hours’ at the FOX Studios during College Football Saturdays. The crew is a good one, and it shows in how much fun they have together.

“Rob (Stone), he’s kind of our leader, he navigates the ship. We just have good interaction. We all bring different things to the table, which is helpful,” Leinart added. “We are great friends. We had dinner last night (spoiler alert: Stone paid). It really shows up on screen.”

Leinart, who led Mater Dei to a CIF championship during his tenure, is proud to be part of the rich QB tradition of the CIF-SS.

“The South, that’s where you go get the D-Linemen. Orange County, and L.A. too, has been melting pot for great quarterback prospects. It’s just a place where there is great quarterback training from when you are young and throughout high school. It’s been a place where teams can pluck these guys,” Leinart said.