Last season, Daniels turned in a career-best 110-tackle performance, with six stops behind the line, three sacks and won the Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award for the second straight year following spring practice.
"I don't see why leading the team in tackles again wouldn't be a realistic goal," Tide Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines said. "Brooks is always around the ball, he's got a chance to have a great senior year."
Now Daniels is up to 13th on the all-time Tide list of leading tacklers and has put in 10 career games with double-figure stops, including a career-high tying 16 tackles against Middle Tennessee State and 12 against Auburn. Two seasons in a row, he has topped the 100-tackle mark.
"He's a very instinctive player. He can run, he's got good cover skills," Kines said. "He does a nice job on the inside run because he's got some quickness to come off a block."
The senior linebacker spent spring learning the new defensive schemes of Joe Kines. "I think we've pretty much got all the basic stuff. We've got to correct some things like lining up in the wrong place," Daniels said. "We're going to have to get in here and watch some film over the summer."
The senior linebacker is proof that size isn't everything. Despite being a bit light at 6-2, 205 pounds, Daniels is a classic linebacker with aggressive instincts, great footspeed and outstanding coverage ability, able to flow to the ball with the best of them.
"Size is overrated at outside linebacker," Kines said. "On the outside speed is the most valuable asset."
"You can't run, you can't play," Kines continued. "You either have speed or you're chasing it."
Daniels looks to continue last year's team success. Last season, the Tide allowed only 213 yards of rushing per game and Daniel's strong play on the outside was a big part of that success.
Daniels is adjusting to the flow, assignments and terminology of the new scheme.
"Less blitzing--we're trying to push the ball to the outside where we can use our speed," Daniels said. "Trying to make them to go East and West."
According to Daniels, the new scheme may funnel more of the action his way, where he looks to snatch up opposing ball carriers like a lion pouncing on an antelope. "This defense will allow me to sit more in the box. I think it will be easier to get to 100 tackles."
Daniels has noticed a difference with the new coaching staff, as Kines' intensity has rubbed off on his troops. "Coach Kines is more aggressive, Coach Torbush was a little more laid back," Daniels said.
"A good instinctive linebacker--the worst thing you can do is tie him down with something that takes him away from the ball," Kines said of his coaching approach.
"You drill it but then you turn him loose in the game and let him play," Kines added. "The worst thing you can do with a great linebacker is to over coach him."
According to Daniels, he was inspired by the accomplishments of another undersized linebacker that played for one of his home-state college teams. "From growing up in my Florida State days, Derrick Brooks was an undersized guy like me," Daniels recalled. "But he still did great things, And then he gained 20 pounds and became what he is today."
Daniels has a firm grasp on his individual goals as he hopes to cap off a superior career at the Capstone. If he stays healthy, Daniles will surely be remembered among the many Tide linebacking greats.
"I want to get my third consecutive 100-tackle season," Daniels said. "I want to lead the defense in tackles."
Kines is no stranger to talent and sees much of that which made Derrick Thomas and Cornelius Bennett great in Daniels.
"God has blessed me that I've been around some great ones," Kines said. "All those guys have about the same thing in common, when the ball is snapped, they have a feel by formation and flow where the ball is going and they just show up at the football."