Godby's McDaniel One of State's Top Talents

In recent years, few cities its size can match Tallahassee for producing top flight Division I football talent. There has been a virtual pipeline from Tallahassee to Division I schools in recent years and both Lincoln and North Florida Christian each have boasted players considered among the top five talents in the state of Florida.

This year, DeAndre McDaniel of Godby will likely finish the year ranked among Florida's very best players in what is another banner year for high ranking talent in Tallahassee.

McDaniel is a two-way performer who excels at wide receiver and free safety. Godby Coach Shelton Crews thinks the 6-1, 180-pound McDaniel might be one of the best players in Florida but also in the entire country.

"I think DeAndre is one of the best players in the country, either wide receiver or defensive back," Crews said. "I am glad I don't have to make that decision what side of the ball he plays on at the next level. For us, he will play both sides. He probably won't come off the field. One great thing about him is he is also a great special teams player. He can block punts, return punts, return kickoffs …whatever we need, he can usually do. We expect big things out of him."

Not only does McDaniel never leave the football field, it seems he never leaves a Godby uniform. In addition to playing a leading role on the football team, McDaniel also plays basketball and runs track.

"My dad and uncle played football at Godby," he said. "I play basketball and play the two (shooting guard) and the three (small forward) positions. I run the 4x100, the 4x400, the triple jump, and long jump on the track team."

Although sports take up a lot of time, he still manages to keep things under control in the classroom.

"School is going real well," he said. "This report card will probably be 2-A's, a B and a C."

Godby is loaded up with senior talent for the 2005 football season. With talent and depth in abundance, the Cougars have the kind of team that could go deep into the state playoffs.

"I think we are going to be very good because we have a lot of returning players and only have a couple of spots to fill," McDaniel said. "We probably aren't going to run that much but I think we are going to go far in the playoffs this year."

McDaniel tries to be a team leader both on and off the field. He takes his role as a leader quite seriously. He wants to be a good example for the younger players on the team.

"I think I will bring a lot to the field this year," he said. "They will play good off of how I am playing. I know I have to step up since Roy (Upchurch) is gone."

Even though it's just the spring he's on the wish lists for a lot of Division I programs. Each day there are letters from new schools. He's also gotten a fair share of scholarship offers.

"I have ten offers --- Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Purdue, Kansas State, LSU, Maryland, Illinois, Louisville," he said, noting also that he recently heard from the national champions.

"USC just sent me two letters," he said.

Because he grew up in Tallahassee, he's always been a Florida State fan, but he insists that when it comes time to make a college decision, he will keep an open mind.

"Florida State has always been my favorite," he said. "But, now since I am getting close to picking a college, there are a lot of colleges I am looking at on TV and cheering for."

Although a Seminole fan, FSU's arch-rival Miami produced two of the players he admires the most.

"Sean Taylor and Ed Reed were two of my favorite college players," he said.

He has only had a chance to soak up the college game day atmosphere at Doak Campbell Stadium on the FSU campus. He plans on getting out this summer and visiting some schools for some summer camps. He has already started a list of things that will be deciding factors to where he goes to school.

"Depth chart, how good the team is, and the academics" will be factored into his decision along with "Are they graduating a lot of people?"

McDaniel will start the 2005 season listed among Florida's top high school football players. On signing day, he will probably have his choice of the best programs in the country and he will be able to choose whether he wants to play offense or defense at the next level.

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