It’s beginning to look like former University of South Florida star B.J. Daniels has earned a job as San Francisco’s third-string quarterback after another strong preseason performance Thursday in the 49ers’ 41-6 win at San Diego.
It certainly helps that his chief competition, seven-year veteran Seneca Wallace, announced his retirement before the game.
The 49ers have kept three quarterbacks in Coach Jim Harbaugh’s two previous seasons. Colin Kaepernick and Colt McCoy will go into the season 1-2.
“I think the fact that Seneca Wallace didn’t make the trip suggests that he’s been told B.J. Daniels will make the team as the No. 3 QB,” tweeted Sacramento Bee beat writer Matt Barrows.
Against the Chargers, Daniels completed five of nine for 76 yards and two touchdowns, for a quarterback rating of 123.1. He also ran for 54 yards, including a 36-yard scramble reminiscent of Kaepernick.
Harbaugh has called Daniels “impressive,” and this week pushed Daniels ahead of Wallace, likely leading to Wallace’s decision to leave the team.
On Thursday, McCoy replaced Kaepernick early and played into the third quarter, when Daniels entered.
Daniels, drafted by 49ers in the seventh round this year, didn’t lead the 49ers to a first down until his fourth series, when he scrambled to move the chains.
And his first touchdown pass was a product of a second chance by free-agent receiver Lavelle Hawkins. Daniels’ short toss bounced off Hawkins’ hands and into the air, but the receiver grabbed it before being hit by rookie safety Jahleel Addae. Addae didn’t wrap up, and Hawkins swept to the left and finished the 45-yard scoring run for a 34-6 lead.
“He stayed with it and had the awareness enough to catch it and make a play and make a couple guys miss and score a touchdown,” Daniels said.
After his 36-yard run, Daniels showed touch on his second scoring pass, a 14-yard fade to Chuck Jacobs over the outstretched arms of Chargers cornerback William Middleton.
The 49ers must trim the roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday.
“He’s someone that’s constantly improving, constantly getting better, constantly getting more comfortable,” Kaepernick said of Daniels. “Every time he steps on the field, he’s ready to compete.”