In-City Recruiting?

ATHENS - The term “in-state recruiting” is thrown around a lot. With the amount of talent Georgia high schools produce year in and year out, there’s a lot of validity to the topic.

But zoom the lens in one magnification. What about “in-city recruiting?”  

JaQua Daniels, a four-star running back, goes to school on Milledge Avenue. Sound familiar? You may recognize the street name from a Corey Smith song. Occasionally you’ll even see Daniels’ possible future position coach, Bryan McClendon, jogging down that Greek-dominated thoroughfare.  

Though originally from Alabama, Daniels has been making his name in the recruiting world just about two miles from Sanford Stadium.  

“He’s just so big and strong. He’s one of the biggest guys out there, and he’s probably one of the fastest,” Clarke Central quarterback Jack Mangel said of Daniels.  

Listed at 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, Daniels is bigger than Todd Gurley or Nick Chubb was at his age.  

In September 2013, his sophomore year, Daniels broke the single game Clarke Central High School rushing touchdown record when he plowed into the end zone five times against Apalachee .  

The following spring, Daniels got his first college offer from Georgia.  

While many recruits consider the recruiting process to be stressful, Daniels called the experience “fun.” But, it makes the otherwise overwhelming process pretty easy to enjoy when you have your eyes set on one school.

“I was supposed to go to a lot of other schools (this fall), but I only wanted to go to the Georgia games,” Daniels said.

With that is seems the Bulldogs’ recruiting department has Daniels itching to be the next Georgia workhorse, but they have had a little help from an inside source close to Daniels.

Tyree, Daniels’s 13-year-old brother, has more than hinted at his preference.

“He always tells me. He sent me a text message one time (saying), ‘Don’t leave. You better not leave,’” Daniels said. “When he’s around all of his friends, they’ll tell me: ‘Go to Georgia.”

  There is no question that Daniels likes Georgia. He likes the fact that Georgia is close —really close—to home. Plus, he said likes the college-town feel of the Classic City.  With over a year until his own signing day, it would take a lot to pull him away from his hometown school.

  “He’s always talking about Georgia and wearing Georgia stuff,” Mangel said.

  The notion of playing Division-I football before too long is evidently on his mind, but at the mention of his senior football season, Daniels couldn’t contain his excitement, letting a huge grin stretch across his face.

  But for now, it’s basketball season.

  Just nine days after surgery on his left shoulder, Daniels was in the gym with his high school basketball team. A talented dual-sport athlete for the Gladiators, Daniels doesn’t want to miss being around his friends and teammates. So, he runs the clock and shoots one-handed to pass the time.

  A big fan of social media (especially Twitter, he admits that to sending snapchats from the bench when the time seems to drag.

“He’s a team guy,” Mangel said. “He’s the real deal.”

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