RECRUITING: McDaniel Is Solid For Florida

Just because Damon McDaniel of Virginia Beach (VA) Landstown has committed to the Florida Gators doesn't mean a couple of schools that were working him hard have stopped calling. McDaniel joined teammate Percy Harvin as a Florida commit a couple of weeks ago in an ESPN televised news conference but ever since then Miami and Virginia Tech have kept calling.

(See Damon McDaniel profile)

McDaniel is a four-star rated wide receiver who had 92 catches for 1,574 yards and 26 touchdowns in Landstown's explosive spread offense to form the nation's most potent 1-2 offensive punch with Harvin, who had 75 catches for 1,313 yards and 14 touchdowns to go with 504 rushing yards for 13 touchdowns along with six returns (interceptions, kickoffs and punts) for scores. While Harvin, rated the nation's top wide receiver prospect by Scout.com, got the bulk of the awards and attention, McDaniel's numbers proved he is a tremendous prospect in his own right.

Harvin and McDaniel chose the Gators back on December 19 and even though most of the recruiting calls ended from other schools, McDaniel's phone keeps ringing with two in particular holding out hope that he'll change his mind.

"Everything is calmer now, but Virginia Tech and Miami are still calling me," McDaniel told Gator Country.

Virginia Tech, Miami and anyone else can call all they want, but McDaniel is solid as a rock for the Gators. McDaniel chose the Gators for a variety of very good reasons.

"The spread open offense and the opportunity to come in and play early … they [Florida] have a need for wide receivers," said McDaniel. "They didn't have a chance to recruit the receivers they wanted coming from Utah. They had a lot of receivers hurt last year and they had to convert players from other positions for wide receiver."

The choice was also made because he wants to go against the best players possible in practice every day and on game days. McDaniel sees the Florida recruiting class, which could be one of the best ever, and the Southeastern Conference, where the best college football is played, as more reasons to be a Gator.

"As a receiver I want to learn what its like at the next level," he said. "Chris Leak is a good quarterback and with Tim Tebow, the quarterback position is solid."

He isn't quite sure if he'll end up as an outside receiver or in the slot. In Coach Urban Meyer's offense, however, receivers are expected to be flexible and intelligent enough to play either inside or outside. At Landstown, McDaniel played mostly on the outside in an offense that almost mirrors the spread attack that Meyer prefers.

"I am just going to be coming down there and fight for a spot," he said. "We play a little at running back sometimes (at Landstown) … we are four wide all the time but we don't switch positions. I am on the outside all the time and Percy is usually the slot man."

He is relaxing for a few more days, taking in the college bowl games and getting away from the daily school routine. School begins again on January 3 but he's already thinking about playing football in the fall in Gainesville. McDaniel wants to bring a little more highlight reel to a team in desperate need of big time playmakers.

"They are going to see explosiveness and see me do what I can to get in the end zone," he said. "I want to do what I can to win for the team."

The calls from other schools may continue through signing day (February 1) but McDaniel won't budge off his commitment to the Gators. He already envisions himself in orange and blue continuing a trend he started at Landstown of getting into the end zone with regularity.


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