Warren (Ohio) Harding three-star center James Daniels has been a wanted man by several schools for a long time, but an offer from Alabama head coach Nick Saban on May 16 only served to raise the stakes in his recruitment.
"It meant a lot to me because over the past five years, they've probably been the most successful program in the country," he said. "Right after they offered me, a whole bunch of schools that are recruiting me started recruiting me a lot harder after they saw that Alabama offered me."
Daniels was once thought to favor Ohio State and Auburn as his top schools, but the emergence of Alabama as well as the possibility of an offer from Stanford has led the nation's seventh-rated center to schedule some summer visits before he plans to make a decision. Daniels will take the ACT on June 14, which could lead to an offer from the Cardinal.
"I'm going to go up to Alabama because they offered me like three weeks ago," he said. "I want to visit Michigan State. Then, depending on my ACT score, Stanford could offer me. If I get a better ACT score next Saturday I'll go up to visit them."
After competing in the OHSAA Division I State Track and Field Championships on June 7 – Daniels finished 13th in the discus with a throw of 149-09 – he broke down what he likes about each of the schools that sit near the top of his list (which currently has no leader or order).
Ohio State: "It's probably one of the three most historic programs ever. My dad went there and I visited last Saturday. The visit went good, so they stand pretty good with me right now."
Iowa: "My brother (LeShun Daniels Jr.) is at Iowa and they've done a nice job of getting linemen to the NFL."
Alabama: "They also get a lot of linemen to the NFL and they're going to be playing for SEC Championships and national titles pretty much every year."
Stanford: "If I graduate from Stanford, I probably won't even need to be in the NFL because the education at Stanford is amazing."
Michigan State: "Michigan State is a very good program. I love the coaches. I talk to Coach (Jim) Bollman and Coach (Pat) Narduzzi a lot. I like them a lot."
Auburn: "Auburn, they run the ball a lot. I like their offense. I'm more of a smashmouth offense guy and they run the spread, but they like to run the ball so I like that too."
Of those schools, Daniels noted that one in particular is recruiting him the hardest. However, his home-state school is not necessarily getting any extra help from his father LeShun Daniels, who suited up for the scarlet and gray in the 1990s.
"I would say Ohio State is probably recruiting me the hardest," Daniels said. "My dad wants me to go to the school that's best for me, but I could also see why he would want me to go to Ohio State."
Daniels has no set date for an announcement but plans to have his recruitment wrapped up before he begins his senior year of high school.