- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Avon (Ind.) junior defensive end Elijah Daniel has been to some of the country’s best games this year, and on Saturday, Daniel was at the game this year.
Daniel traveled south to Alabama for the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup between LSU and Alabama.
“I felt like I was supposed to be there in all of that, that I was just supposed to be at that game,” Daniel said. “It was really exciting and the fans were crazy.”
Having visited the Alabama-Florida and Notre Dame-USC games, too, Daniel, an ESPNU Watch List member, hasn’t seen any shortage of great games and electric atmospheres this year. However, he said Saturday’s was the best.
“It was probably the most hyped up and intensified game,” he said. “I’d have to say it was the best of the games because it was No. 1 vs. No. 2. Even though the offenses struggled, it was pretty cool seeing the defenses get after it like that.”
Despite the loss, the Alabama defense was terrific and once again showed why it is one of the best defensive units in the country. Daniel said he can see himself filling the role of Courtney Upshaw if he goes to Alabama, which has not offered.
“Being aggressive like Courtney Upshaw, making plays off the edge and getting pressure on the quarterback pressure,” Daniel said is how he sees himself in the Alabama defense. “Everyone on the defensive plays with an aggressive mentality.”
Alabama assistant Bobby Williams recently saw Daniels’ film. Daniels said Williams was impressed with it but needs to let defensive line coach Chris Rumph see it and then coach Nick Saban to OK an offer to Daniel, who grew up in Alabama.
For now, the Crimson Tide staff wants Daniel to come back on Nov. 19 for the home finale against Georgia Southern. Daniel isn’t sure if he will take them up on their offer. He was planning on making it to Florida State for its rivalry game against Miami, but he said he had to cancel.
Even though Daniel is very interested in the Tide, he said Florida is his leader. Daniel picked up an offer from Florida when he visited in October.
“I like [defensive line] coach [Bryant] Young and their whole defense,” he said. “I like the whole coaching staff and everything. They’d be the frontrunner.”
Daniel raves about Young, who he said he talks to about once a week and has a great relationship with.
“I feel like I know him more than I have, like a couple years,” Daniel said. “It’d be real fun playing under him.”
Including Florida, Daniel has five offers. Indiana, Iowa, Marshall and Purdue have also offered, and Daniel said he thinks Alabama and Florida State will likely be the next to offer.
487dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert