Senior running back Donovan Daniels caught the punt at the left hashmark took two steps to the right, stutter stepped and was off into the night at Hickman High School.
“Donovan Daniels to the house, touchdown!” the PA announcer exclaimed.
Daniels had put the Statesmen up 27-0 with his 72-yard punt return to go along with two rushing touchdowns in the 40-6 victory over the Kewpies.
Last year, Daniels led the Statesmen with 908 total yards. Daniels has 10 of the Statesmen’s 20 touchdowns this year and leads the Statesmen and the Suburban XII conference with 675 total yards. Daniels has 918 all-purpose yards through five games.
Daniels has the role of a swiss army knife for the statesmen. Varsity Football coach Clifford Ice said, “(Daniels) is our go to guy on offense, at running back and receiver he is a guy we are trying to get the ball to, he is a guy that teams are trying to stop. He returns kicks for us and also starts on defense, he plays a very large role.”
Daniels has received offers from Division II McKendree University, Lindenwood University and Culver-Stockton College. He has interest from Division I-AA schools Southeast Missouri State, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University and Austin Peay University.
About the recruiting process, Daniel said, “It’s been up and down. It was faster when we were a better team. I’m hoping this year we can surprise a lot of people.. I think that if we win more games, schools will start to notice.”
Over the summer, Daniels worked with his brother, Aaron Daniels. Daniels said one of his role models playing football was Aaron. Aaron is a senior at Lindenwood.
Daniels said, “He kind of is why I play today. I used to play baseball when I was little, and then when he quit baseball, I started playing football because he started playing football. I followed him, and he greatness made me want to be great.”
Daniels said, “He is trying to get me prepared for what I’m going to have to do at the next level. We run hills, do footwork stuff. He want to see what’s best for me and is trying to do what’s best for me.”
Ice said, “Donovan had a great off-season, he gained a lot of muscle mass over the season and that means he put in a lot of work.”
Daniels is also ranked 30th in the Post-Dispatch super 30 rankings of Saint Louis area senior football players.