Friday, June 7, 2013
2015 DT Jacob Daniel bursts onto scene
By Erik McKinney
Several players saw their recruiting stock skyrocket this spring, and no discussion of those high-fliers in California is complete without mentioning 2015 defensive tackle Jacob Daniel (Fresno, Calif./Clovis North).
Daniel began his assault on the recruiting process conspicuously enough when Southern Utah extended an offer on April 18.
"I remember that date because it was such a surprise," Daniel said. "I didn't think I'd get offers until this time next year. I was so happy with the offer, I wasn't thinking about anything else coming in."
What came in next completely floored the 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle. He quickly moved into the BCS ranks, with offers from Cal and Washington. Fewer than two months later, he holds more than 15 offers, including ones from Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Washington. He said it was the offers from the Hurricanes that made him realize how big his recruitment had gotten.
"When Miami offered, that's probably when I thought, 'Whoa, this is really starting to blow up,'" Daniel said.
A standout basketball player as well, Daniel said the recruiting increase is from coaches getting around to seeing his film from last fall, rather than anything he's done this spring. Although the added intensity he brought to spring ball certainly helped as well.
"I've always taken football seriously, but now I'm even more serious about it," Daniel said. "With a lot more scholarship offers, it's a different type of pressure. I want to look like that big-time recruit, so I'm putting a lot more pressure on myself."
On the field, that transformation began this past fall, when Daniel found a new level to his game in his sophomore season.
"In the middle of last season, I was gaining a lot of confidence in my play," he said. "It was like a switch flipped and the game started slowing down for me. I could do what I wanted to do."
On the recruiting trail, Daniel is halfway to his initial goal. He said Ohio State and UCLA are his two favorite programs. The Buckeyes extended an offer earlier this week, while the Bruins have been in contact with him. There was some confusion as to whether Daniel already held an offer from UCLA, but the defensive tackle said that hasn't yet happened.
"They are big-tier programs," he said. "I grew up in LA and always watched UCLA basketball. I didn't really know much about the football team. I was always watching them and Ohio State football when they'd play Michigan and Notre Dame and have that No. 1 ranking."
Daniel is hoping to visit all the California schools this summer, though he doesn't have any firm camp dates at this time. He is also unsure of what schools could be coming in next with scholarship offers, as has been the case for much of his recruitment thus far.
"A couple of them I knew about, but for the most part, a lot of them have been completely out of the blue," he said. "I'd get it and think, 'How did this happen?' "
With a two-month recruiting run that rivals any in-state player in his class, Daniel only needs to check his sophomore tape to get an answer to that question. It's obviously what college coaches have been doing.