Spolight on: Mike Daniels

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When looking at the current list of starters in the spring prospectus and there as one name that really stuck out at me as an unknown: Mike Daniels. I really didn't know anything about him other than the fact that I often mix him up with fellow defensive lineman Lebron Daniel. So I thought I'd take the time to find out who he is. Daniels will see the field a lot this fall, even if his does end up getting beat for the starting spot by Cody Hundertmark, who's coming back from a shoulder injury, or a newcomer like Steve Bigach, as the hole at defensive tackle left when Mitch King and Matt Kroul graduated will likely be filled by a rotation of players.

So, who is Mike Daniels…has he even played before? Yeah, good question. I don't remember hearing his name at all last year, but I found that he did contribute some as a redshirt freshman. He played in 7 games and recorded 6 tackles including 1 sack against Florida International. Daniels comes from the state of New Jersey. He attended Highland Regional High School in Blackwood (check out the school's website and its hilarious looking mascot Scotty the Tartan). While in high school he was name First Team All-Tri-County as a senior and played in the New York-New Jersey All State Classic scoring a touchdown. He was also a 3-time letterman on the wrestling team (Iowa's staff likes those wrestlers - they just offered another one). His football stats in high school were very impressive. He had a total of 222 tackles, 27 sacks (12 sacks in his senior year), and on offense ran for over 2000 yards and had 25 touchdowns. Here are some pictures of him playing in high school (look for #42).

Iowa was a little late in offering Daniels and he was planning on staying out east. He was looking at schools like Penn State, Rutgers, Temple, and Pittsburgh, but after seeing Daniels' highlight video Iowa was quick to offer. And from there, Daniels was quick to sign on. Daniels said when interview by the Courier-Post:
"When I heard from Iowa, it just threw me off the wall. I'm ready to go out there and fight for a spot, and help take them to a national championship. It's so exciting. Sometimes, when people ask me about it, I'm at a loss for words. I just can't wait to get there."

I think that's a great quote and I think it's pretty obvious Daniels is glad to be a Hawkeye. Hopefully all the players share that attitude and maybe we will win a national championship someday.

Daniels is a little undersized at defensive tackle, thouh Iowa has been using smaller guys there lately. He is listed at 6'1", 267 lbs, which is smaller than both defensive ends (Clayborn is listed at 282 and Ballard at 285), but still bigger than his fellow starter at tackle, Karl Klug who is only 258. Though he lacks some in weight, he's strong and quick. In high school he was a state qualifier in both shot put and discus and placed 4th and 7th respectively. (Maybe Daniels will be friend with incoming freshman Drew Clark.)

Daniels will have a good supporting cast around him on the defensive line with Klug, Ballard, and Clayborn, and he will have great linebackers behind him. I expect him to fit right in. He sounds like a great guy for Iowa and I'm excited to see him play this fall to see what he can do.
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