Joe Dailey made the pledge to Nebraska. He said, that's where he was going to be, that's where he wanted to play quarterback and his earlier decision wasn't one that wasn't completely setting right. Given his uncertainty, he thought the next four years of his life was worth being a little selfish for. "I needed to be selfish." Joe said. "I still hate it, because I don't want to be the bad guy, but I had to think of me and what I wanted to do in the long run."
The long run equals a thousand plus miles to the midwest, where the corn grows tall and the Husker nation grows more red by the day. It's not the color of the apparel that suited Joe, rather the fact that it was all that anyone was thinking about. "I'm about the football." Dailey stated. "I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't get into the crazy parties. I'm about football, because that's been my whole life."
A life of developing into a football player means that you have fine tuned your body to play that sport at it's highest level. That's something Joe was able to achieve, being named a High School Heisman player of the year , while putting up over 2,000 yards in total offense, throwing an impressive 71.6% on the year for over 1,100 yards and scoring 19 times, while scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground. Dailey's 4.43/40 time coupled with his 6 foot- ½ inch 205 lbs. frame, made him elusive, quick and very, very fast.
This made him a premium get for anyone and in the end, it's Nebraska that scored for this New Jersey standout. Ironically enough, Joe will be competing against another former New Jersey standout for the job that he will be trying to get. "Who would have thought that two guys from Jersey would be competing against each other at Nebraska." Joe said. "We're from the same county and it's just strange how it ends up like this."
It is strange though. The chances two kids from the east coast traveling so far inland to a place that's basically in the middle of nothing but corn, to compete for the starting job at the same position, well, you can't write stuff like this up. It's just too good.
And, so is Joe. He's confident in how good he is. Confident enough that his goals are more than that of someone just wanting to play, but someone wanting to succeed. "Everyone wants to play." Joe said. "What I want to do is make an impact when I play. Whatever it is, to win a game, to get a drive into the endzone, I wanna be that guy to help the team go over the top and win."
With his own goals comes the pressure he puts on himself to succeed each day. It's the pressure any kid that excels at anything like Joe does puts on themselves, but with each person comes a unique perspective on how they want to see those efforts pay off. "Everything is about winning, but if I could dream and I watched Eric do it, if I could think that one day, maybe I could just be considered for the Heisman, that's like something you can't even imagine."
A Heisman? Before you have even got into college? Lofty? Of course and even Joe admits that. "I'm not saying I am that good." Dailey stated. "But, it's a goal, it's something you put in your mind because you can't just want to do something that's easy or you know you can reach with time. It's got to be something like that, so everyday, you never give up on trying to get there. You always get up and there it is and it drives you."
What Nebraska holds for him is a place to realize those dreams. It's not like he couldn't do that anywhere else, but at Nebraska, it's different. It's different, because when can you remember Nebraska getting a QB that came in throwing over 70 percent his last season in high school? When can you recall a QB committing to NU that was considered a Pass/Run QB instead of the other way around. Someone that can come in and do it now? Someone that could possibly push Jammal Lord for the job? "I"m not saying I am going to come in and redshirt, because I want to play." Joe said. "But, everyone does. That job, it's his (Jammal's) to lose, so it's up to anyone else to try and prove they have what it takes to be there."
"If you are a QB and there are others at that position, everyone expects you to try for that spot, no matter how young or old you are. And, that's what I plan on doing, when I get there and throughout my whole career."
What Joe feels (and many others) is his key to making it on the field is that aforementioned prolific passing attack he brings to Lincoln with him. Not having to be shown what throwing it 70 percent looks like, but knowing that he has done it and can do it, even at this level. "I'm excited to bring what I can do there." Joe said. "I want to be that guy that shows everything, not just running and then, just throwing some of the time. I want to bring something to Nebraska that makes defenses have to play them differently, that way they can really open it up. I'm just trying to make them and myself better."
Whether Joe does indeed make himself and NU better, that remains to be seen. On paper, he's got the potential to do just that. In fact, the buzz with Husker fans as they drool over his passing stats isn't what can he do, but what can't he do. And on first glance, he seems to be able to do it all.
Dailey isn't your typical Husker commit in that he didn't have Scarlet and Cream in his eyes from the days of being a child. He didn't grow up watching Tommie or dream of being Scott. Heck, he didn't even know about "The Run". He's a football player and one that wants to take his game to the next level and see just how far he can go. "I eat, live and breath football." Joe said.
"It's what I am about and that's what Nebraska is about and that's why I am going there."
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619