McDaniel's triumphant return

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele tosses all adjectives aside when describing DeAndre McDaniel.

It's not that Steele wouldn't call his junior strong safety good, great or spectacular, he feels there's just one way to properly describe McDaniel.

"The bottom line is," Steele said, "the guy is a football player-period. He is a football player. He loves to play."

What might impress Steele the most about McDaniel is his ability to shake off a mistake and "come back fighting."

McDaniel intercepted Miami quarterback Jacory Harris twice in Clemson's 40-37 win at Land Shark Stadium on Saturday.

The first interception ended Miami's opening drive with the Hurricanes threatening to score. Harris' pass hit off the intended receiver's hands and landed in McDaniel's. He took the interception from the Clemson 5-yardline and returned it 27 yards.

McDaniel's second pick was returned 23 yards for six points in the fourth quarter, giving Clemson a 31-27 lead with 9:40 to play.

Playing in his home state of Florida, McDaniel said he and Chris Chancellor had several conversations about playing in their native state.

"We both had a lot of family here. We wanted to make some plays in our state," McDaniel said.

Steele said the touchdown was an example of McDaniel being able to forget about an earlier mistake.

"There was a route on (Chancellor) at about the 50. That's what was supposed to happen on the touchdown," Steele said. "They threw the over route and it looked like (Chancellor) was kind of lagging off of him, that is what was supposed to happen.

"The next time they threw it, it happened and he runs it in."

McDaniel now has seven interceptions this year, which is topsthe country. Though he's the only player credited with them, McDaniel doesn't take all the credit for the picks.

"It feels good but I couldn't do it without that defensive line and those linebackers bringing all that pressure," he said. "It's just a scheme and good coaching."

Steele wasn't calling McDaniel out when he spoke of the "teachable moment".

"He'd be the one to tell you…it's kind of a funny thing. It's one of those teachable moments," Steele said.

When McDaniel was asked about his touchdown, he said Steele called him to the sideline and encouraged him to jump the route.

"He said, ‘Dre, you've got to jump those and you'll be taking it back.' They came back and tried it again. I did what he told me and that's what happened," McDaniel said. "I got six from it."

Sure enough, McDaniel was accountable for his actions.

Add that to your list of words to describe McDaniel--accountable.

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