#23 David Daniels (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Once in a crowded backfield, David Daniels found his footing at Life Christian
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit804
Three years ago, David Daniels (2020 RB 5-10 215) found himself in a difficult situation while at Thomas Dale High School. Just a sophomore at the time, Daniels was buried on the depth chart at running back behind Collin Holmes, Elijah Burns, and – now Notre Dame commit – Chris Tyree.
Daniels felt as though in order to maximize his exposure he would have to leave the shadow of the running back group under Kevin Tucker and the Knights. After combing through his options, Daniels made the decision to transfer to Life Christian Academy where he has been part of a large initiative over the last two years. One of LCA’s major initiatives, as with most programs across the region, is to ensure their student-athletes will be able to find a home prior to walking over the graduation stage in June.
“I transferred from Thomas Dale my sophomore year to come to LCA seeking better opportunities and it was a great choice,” Daniels told Recruit804. “I was in the rotation at LCA and it’s a lot of quality players that play here. Not everyone can be in the limelight, but we’re all proud of each other coming from nothing.”
Daniels was in a rotation this past season that included former L.C. Bird running back Tre Mason. The talent level at Life Christian makes it so certain groups contribute on a “by committee” basis. A lot of the time it depends on who’s having greater success and who has the hotter hand at the moment. Therefore, it has always been important to be ready when your number is called because you never know when it’s going to be your turn to step up and make an impact.
“Because of the talent we had at the running back position, any one of us were capable of having a good game,” Daniels stated. “We believe in feeding the hot hand and I don’t mind blocking the whole game to let my brother eat up. For example, when we played IMG Academy it was the best game I ever played. I was getting hot, so I got the ball a lot.”
The football journey for Daniels didn’t start at Thomas Dale. A military brat, Daniels moved around a lot until his parents settled down in Chester when he was in the sixth grade. He begged his mother to let him play football and he finally got the chance to play when he was in the seventh grade.
Daniels started out with the Chesterfield Giants and was surprised at how well he came to grips in picking up the intricacies within the game of football. However, he didn’t start homing in on the running back position until his freshman year.
“I was surprisingly good,” Daniels explained. “But I really started playing my primary position seriously in the ninth grade. I didn’t have a lot of time to play the position and I had to learn how to dominate. Playing in the same backfield as Tyree, Burns, and others made me drive to be stronger and better.”
Prior to his freshman season, Daniels got in contact with Roger Riggle and Defy Genetics. This has also been a beneficial chip in his development over the last four years. Not only has Defy Genetics helped mold Daniels as an athlete, it also helped in aiding him pick up his first collegiate offer from Marshall on Wednesday afternoon.
“I got Marshall interested in me by Roger Riggle who happens to know Coach (J.C.) Price and a few other coaches at Marshall,” Daniels said. “He texted their coach for me and surprisingly got interest for me after a struggle to find any school to really give me a chance. Jayvon Burrell and I went to Marshall versus LA Tech and I loved the environment of the school.”
Grades, in part, made it difficult for the Life Christian product to find many programs to sustain interest in him. Daniels tested for the ACT and SAT but wasn’t pleased with the scores in which he earned. He plans to retake both tests next month with the hopes that it’ll make him a more marketable prospect. His family has been a major driving force constantly reinforcing the importance of taking his education with the utmost seriousness.
“My mother encouraged me to re-take the SAT and ACT,” Daniels stated. “I know that I have a lot of work to do and I still have to finish strong to make sure that I’m eligible.”
Daniels isn’t currently worried about gaining interest or the lack thereof. He has his sights focused on elevating his academics and letting the interest between himself and other programs work itself out. He’s spent a lot time talking to junior colleges and Division II programs in understanding that he’s going to need options when moving forward. The goal from now until the end of the year will be to finish strong and focus on school.
“You always have to have a second plan,” Daniels explained. “Especially if you’re not heavily recruited coming out of high school. Coach Scott and the coaching staff really forced me to elevate my game by playing against the best teams and players in the country. I just have to keep grinding until my name gets noticed.”
– Brandon Mitchell
Note: due to a miscommunication, the original version of this article errantly had David receiving a scholarship offer from Marshall. There is significant interest from Marshall, but there is not an official offer from the Thundering Herd yet. – AH