Texan Daniel Dodd Liked What He Felt at BYU

There aren't too many locales in small-town America (pop. 5,000) where major Div. 1 college recruiters are vying for the talents of four prospects from the only local high school. Welcome to Gilmer, Texas, where BYU recruiter <b>Todd Bradford</b> has also trekked in search of some great players.

Wide receiver Manuel Johnson and defensive back Kevin Hollis, have already verbally committed to Oklahoma and Kansas State, respectively. Wide receiver/defensive back prospect Taye Bowser is currently weighing offers from Texas Tech and Mississippi State.

The fourth, Daniel Dodd, a 6-1, 195 pound LDS linebacker and one of 13 siblings, currently has BYU atop his recruiting list after he participated in the Cougars' summer camp in June, earning Best Linebacker of the Camp award.

As a junior at Gilmer, Dodd was named District MVP (defense), 1st Team All-East Texas and 3A Honorable Mention All-State. Dodds starred at middle linebacker for Gilmer and recorded 134 tackles and "about five sacks" in a team that went 13-1 before they were defeated in the fourth round of the playoffs by the eventual state champion.

Dodds' on-field exploits have been noted by recruiters from Texas A&M, Florida, Iowa, Texas Christian, Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, SMU, Houston and BYU.

"(Coach) Bradford came down to Gilmer and talked to my high school coaches and I've been up to BYU to talk to him as well," Dodd said.

"I get letters from everywhere, but they don't mean much." Dodd confirmed he has yet to receive his first offer, but he's not overly concerned about it. "No one has offered me a scholarship yet. I would like to go to BYU because it's a better atmosphere and I wouldn't have to worry about my (LDS) mission and all that," he said.

Elder brother Paul weighs in with a few favorable comments of his own. "Daniel would really be a steal for BYU. I have personally spoken with Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor and he said he tells all the recruiters that Daniel will be an All-Conference player for them."

Dodd came away from his BYU summer camp experience highly impressed with the coaching staff and physical facilities.

"I met coach (Bronco) Mendenhall and coach (Barry) Lamb at BYU's camp. I like how Mendenhall coaches because he sees how hard you want to play. He looks to see if you run full speed on every play. If anyone slacked off at the camp, he would ask them, ‘Is that your best effort?' You've got to be going full speed at all times," Dodd recalled.

"When I was talking to coach Lamb, he told me that if I do get a scholarship (offer by BYU), I would play safety for the first year or so until I fully filled out my body. He said after that, I would probably go to linebacker. I would like to play for an aggressive defense like that," Dodd added.

Meanwhile, Dodd has been busy working out in preparation for his senior season of prep football. "I ran a 4.61 (camp timed) like four times, but I plan on breaking that when we test next week," Dodd said. "I want to get down to the 4.5 range. I benched 280 on a one-rep max. My squat is 380 and, at TCU, I had a 32.5-inch vertical. I think my fastest shuttle time was a 4.4."

Hailing from a family of 10 boys and 3 girls, Daniel played football last season with elder brother Jacob, a senior who lined up next to him at outside linebacker.

At 6-2, 180 pounds, Jacob struggled with academics and was not recruited by Div. 1 schools and will likely play at a junior college. "I've talked with Dixie and Snow College in Utah. My grades weren't that good in high school, so I'll probably just go to a JUCO then try and walk-on where Daniel is, or, if all works out, I'll definitely take a scholarship," Jacob said.

Daniel confirmed: "I'm a little bulkier, but he's a little faster and taller than me."

"Last year, I played outside linebacker," Jacob said. "I think I had 110 tackles and I had six pressures on the quarterback. I also had six pass deflections and I got co-MVP with Daniel." Jacob also competed at regionals in the 300-meter hurdles (39.6) and almost qualified for State. Jacob is putting aside football for the time being to serve an LDS mission beginning this fall.

In addition to a memorable football camp experience, Daniel got his first taste and feel for BYU's unique campus culture when he attended a week-long multi-cultural camp called "SOAR," which touches of spiritual and motivational aspects of LDS living. He described the experience as "inspiring."

"I got to stay in the dorms and see the campus. The facilities were real nice. When I got there, I went and talked to coach Bradford and we walked around and met all the coaches. They gave me a tour of the facilities and it was real nice."

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