Hard Work Runs in Family for James and LeShun
One of the surprises of Saturday's practice was seeing freshman offensive lineman James Daniels with the first unit at different points of the day. It's a position tough to break into immediately, and Iowa is not known for newcomers seeing much meaningful action from the jump. Daniels is breaking the mold in that way.
He not only saw time with the first unit, but the former four-star recruit fared very well. The problems with the Hawkeye offensive line has been the offensive tackles, but the interior has shown to be very stout in the limited action that we have seen.
Daniels is from Ohio, and stands at 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds already. It wasn't a surprise because of his ability or him being physically ready. He has both in spades.
He committed to the Hawkeyes in last year's recruiting class over other offers such as Ohio State, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Miami, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, UCLA, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. It was a big win to keep him from the Buckeyes, with his father having played for Ohio State.
Iowa had their own advantage in his recruitment, however, with his older brother LeShun Daniels, Jr. already being on the Hawkeye roster. LeShun is expected to play a significant role in the offense, and tops the depth chart at running back.
The older sibling is elated to have his younger brother in Iowa City.
"It's exciting (to have my brother on the team)," LeShun Jr. said. "Not many people get to play Division I football with their brother. It's a totally different experience. We have fun. We have been close our entire lives. To have him here has been exciting. It's been good for my family."
Freshmen always have struggles and eventually hit the proverbial 'freshmen wall' during Fall camp. LeShun has already been through that, and has shared his experiences with James, and has mentored him on how to handle the new challenges.
"I help him out, especially when he's struggling," LeShun noted. "He's not used to this. He came in here early in the Spring so he sort of has a handle on it but not quite. When he hits the wall, I just try to help him out by telling him stuff I did back when I was a freshman."
LeShun has shared his experiences with James, but they're going down two different paths, with one being a running back and the other an offensive lineman. LeShun also didn't appear on any first units his first year in the program.
What James is doing is unchartered territory for the two, but a prideful one in regards to their family since LeShun has already claimed a starting spot.
"Yeah, (it's a sense of pride) a little bit," LeShun admitted about the success of the Daniels family. "Of course I would love to have my brother out there. It's nice to have him out there. He just has to continue to learn. It's definitely a pride thing. I know he's probably excited about it. I didn't really think about it at the time but afterwards I was like 'yeah that was cool'."
The success doesn't just rest at the feet of the two sons. LeShun Daniels, Sr. played at Ohio State. The younger siblings are now just following his lead.
"I wouldn't say I did or didn't expect (James to be taking first team reps already)," LeShun Jr shared. "He's a hard worker and that runs in our family. He just continues to get better everyday. It's also still a little bit of a battle to outdo each other as well."
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