Cam McDaniel Brings It On, Off the Field

Cam McDaniel is striving for a few little goals - winning the Heisman and sharing his faith with the masses. First, he'll have to select a college. The Texas running back is gaining interest from big time football programs. caught up with him to hear his story and catch up on his recruitment.

After heaping praise on his star running back for most of the interview, Joe McBride pauses at its conclusion. You can tell he isn't satisfied that he's made his point.

"Cam is like Tebow," McBride blurts out as if he wanted to say it all along but had been holding back. "He does tons of missionary work and ministry work with his dad. They're a close family that lives it.

"He affects the guys around him in the right way. As good as he is on the football field, he's better in the locker room. He'll probably be the only one like that I'll coach in my career."

Cam McDaniel is flattered to hear that his coach compares him to Tim Tebow, arguably the most talked about college football player in the game. Both wear their faith out in the open for all to see.

"That guy is phenomenal and wise beyond his years," McDaniel says of Tebow. "I can only hope to be like him one day."

McDaniel's dream is to play major college football, win the Heisman and spread his message.

"Ministry is the No. 1 goal in our life," he said. "As a Christian, it's our job. I want to use football as a platform for that when I get older."

McDaniel rolled up 2,300 all-purpose yards last season, including an average of 177 per game on the ground. The website named the 5-foot-10, 192-pound running back its junior player of the year for the state.

Iowa and Stanford have stepped up with scholarship offers. Arkansas and Texas Tech have called McBride inquiring about McDaniel. Plenty of others are showing interest, including Oklahoma and Boise State.

"I'm going out to Stanford this weekend," McDaniel said. "I know more about Iowa than I do Stanford. I grew up watching Iowa. They've been a consistent powerhouse.

"For some reason, I've always liked the mascot and logo since I was a little kid. I love the colors, too."

McDaniel, who grew up rooting for Texas, plans on visiting Iowa on April 11. He is great friends with Jaxon Shipley, who is a Longhorn commit in 2011. He is the younger brother of former Texas receiver Jordan Shipley.

"They just haven't shown much interest," McDaniel said of the Longhorns. "I've been to a lot of camps there and they've told me they like me, but other schools are recruiting me a lot harder."

Danny McDaniel, a third generation Texas High School football coach, mentors his oldest son, Cam, during the recruiting process.

"That's why we want to get a feel for a school like Iowa," Danny said. "This is a school that came in, offered Cam and said they can see him fitting into what they want to do. I think you place some value on that.

"You might have Texas or somebody come on in December, but are you really as big of a part of their plans as you are for a school like Iowa that saw something in you a year earlier? So, if you're high on their board and then you feel like you can fit there, it might be the perfect marriage."

Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh has told the McDaniel family that they want Cam as a running back. They've not spoken at length about positions with the Hawkeye staff, led by lead recruiter on Cam, Erik Campbell.

"We really haven't got to that point yet," Cam said. "Coach Campbell told me that coaches on both sides of the ball like me. My No. 1 preference is to play running back."

McDaniel roamed at free safety through his sophomore season. Last year, he played in the defensive backfield on nickel and dime packages. McBride said he didn't want to overuse his star, who carried the ball a lot.

McDaniel's fastest 40-yard dash has been 4.53 seconds. He ran the pro agility drill at the Army Combine in San Antonio last month in 3.84 seconds, one of the top times in the test.

"His drive is off the chart," McBride said. "He's an unbelievable kid that just works and works and never is satisfied. He has great quickness and an incredible burst. He's tougher than anybody else on the field."

Time will tell if McDaniel can reach the heights achieved by Tebow. From all accounts, it sounds like he won't stop trying to get there.

"Cam is the kind of kid that's not concerned with hanging out with the socially elite at school or anywhere else," Danny said. "He's concerned with raising up others around him on and off of the field. He has those Ray Lewis type of leadership qualities and refuses to lose."

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