"Just A Kicker"? Not Daniel Lincoln

When searching for a true athlete and competitor, one might assume that you would be looking in the ranks of a quarterback or a linebacker, positions that typically receive glory and adulation across the landscape of college football. One young man from Ocala, Florida looks to make his mark from the kicking position and do so with all the fire he can muster.

Daniel Lincoln isn't your average kicker.  When you talk to him, when you hear about his competitive fire, his drive and determination, it brings back visions of Jordan Congdon, the well-spoken highly-rated kicker that Nebraska signed last year.  At 6' 0" and 195 pounds, Lincoln reports a 4.5 40 yard dash to go along with a 325 pound bench press, a 460 squat and a 285 power clean.  He excels in the classroom with a 4.57 GPA on a 5.0 scale and scored a 1690 on the new SAT along with a 24 on the ACT.

Beginning his kicking as a sophomore, Lincoln is 11/15 for his career with a game long of 49 and an official practice long of 67.  As a punter last year, he averaged 38.3 yards per attempt.  He was named to the Florida All-State team as a sophomore and once again as a junior holding Honorable Mention honors.  He was also named All-Area, All-Region and All-District both years. 

Lincoln claims no official offers, but that appears to be about ready to change.  Schools such as LSU, Tennessee, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska have been courting him for his services along with the likes of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Brown.  His current favorites are LSU, Tennessee, Purdue, Iowa and Florida and Lincoln states that if all else fails, he would be happy walking on in Gainesville, a short distance from his home.

He attended several camps including the Scout.com Combine in Miami and will be attending camps at LSU and Florida in the future.  He cites his own personal strengths as not just being a kicker, but an athlete.  He thrives on competition.  "When the lights go on, I love it," he said.

In talking with Daniel, his loyalty becomes apparent much like his love for the same of football and his passion for life in general.  With a rare mix of maturity and politeness for his age, he described his enjoyment of several schools such as LSU and Florida.  While Nebraska currently isn't in his top five, Lincoln admits that should the Cornhuskers come calling, he would be very interested in hearing what they had to say. 

"On a level of one to ten as far as interest I'd say they're a nine.  The only reason it's not a ten is they haven't contacted me as much as other schools.  I haven't quite gotten the interest from them as other schools.  If they called and wanted me to be there, I'd be there.  It fits what I'm looking for.  It's big time college football, a good education, I'd be all about that, no question about that," he said.

Daniel is planning quite a road trip with stops to LSU on the 24th along with Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama having already taken a trip to Florida.  Lincoln also added, "If anyone has interest and wants me to be there, I'll be there." 

The idea of an official visit has been bandied about by a few schools with Lincoln and he's definitely entertaining the idea.  "I talked to the LSU coaching staff about it and they've been pretty serious about that.  I've talked to Coach (Greg) Adkins at Tennessee and we've played with that idea.  Iowa has mentioned it, Vanderbilt has. As of right now, the only ones I am planning on for sure are LSU and Tennessee," he said.  Lincoln mentioned that given the opportunity, he would visit all five schools in his current list of favorites.

Daniel hasn't really given a lot of thought about when he'd commit, but he has a few scenarios already mapped out.  "It'd be nice to have an offer. If any of those five schools (his favorites) offered, I'd commit today.  It'd be a great relief and I'd be happy with making a commitment before the season started. If not, I'll keep my options open," he said.

When it comes to major factors that will play into Lincoln's eventual collegiate choice, two things stand out: Academics and big time college football.  "I'm very interested in earning my degree in either business or law, so I will definitely consider those two factors and what kinds of opportunities are available in those areas.  I'm taking a couple AP classes to align myself with those opportunities.  I spoke with the business department of LSU, so I've had a little bit of contact with them.  Schools like Purdue and Vanderbilt, as well.," he said.

In reference to playing big time college football, he said,"I'd like to play for a championship.  I want to win.  I dedicated a lot of hard work, time and resources and put a lot of my life into it since I was a little kid playing sports.  I know what it takes to do that and I want that to pay off."  Lincoln has challenged himself to find the school that offers him the best mix of that.  "I want to find a balance between both.  I don't want it to be lopsided.  I want it to be comfortable where I'm going.  I don't want to settle.  I don't like to settle for things, I want to challenge myself and pursue my goals," he said.

With members of the kicking community such as Congdon and now Lincoln invading the collegiate ranks, it might not be too long before the phrase "just a kicker" fades away into obscurity.

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