Fall Camp Spotlight: Owen Daniels

One of the surprises this fall has been the trajectory of Owen Daniels. Originally a highly-touted prep quarterback, Daniels converted to tight end during Alamo Bowl practices last year but tore his ACL after only a couple of practices at the position. Now a receiver, Daniels appears to have settled in and is making significant strides.

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As the team headed into the summer months, Daniels, who was rehabbing during spring workouts, was listed as the No. 6 tight end on the official depth chart. When the media guide was released this fall, however, Daniels position had been changed to wide receiver. Even coach Barry Alvarez seemed a little perplexed at the time.


"I don't even know why he was listed as a wide receiver," Alvarez said during the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon in late July. "I think our offensive coordinator wanted him listed there. Owen is a good enough athlete, we just need to see where he can work in. He is not going to be a tight end that is going to be in there blocking people, but he is a tight end that can do some things. We need somebody who can split a zone, get downfield and he can do that. We would just like to find a place to play him."


Daniels appears to have found a place as a slot receiver. He has worked out with the rest of Wisconsin's receivers this fall and has faired well. With good athleticism and 6-3, 213-pound frame, Daniels has the talent to pull off the transition.


"He has the skills, he just has to get used to playing the position," wide receivers coach Henry Mason said. "He does have very, very good ball skills. He runs good enough, but it is a new thing for him. But I really feel like at some point in time he will be able to help and there are some things that he can do and give us in the passing game and the rest of our offense that he will earn some time."


Daniels has been a jack-of-all-trades type of player this fall, moving out wide at times, but typically working out of the slot, where he seems to be a natural fit. Daniels has exhibited good hands and very good strength. He also appears surprisingly quick.


"I think Owen has made a very good conversion," Alvarez said after Wednesday morning's practice. "He really brings a lot to the table. He can do a lot of different things. He can play wide receiver. He can play tight end. He is big enough to be effective as a blocker. He has great ball skills and he has very good speed for his size. I think he understands the game very well having seen it from the other side. He has made an excellent transition."


"I'm feeling more and more comfortable every day," Daniels said. "Just at the beginning of camp it was really my third day, including what I did at Bowl practice. I'm just trying to feel more comfortable every day and get better every day. It is really the first time I have been doing this."


Mason stated that it is far too early to know where Daniels will end up in the depth chart, but he appears to be working primarily with the second unit this fall.


For his part, Daniels simply hopes to help the team in any way possible.


"I'm just hoping I can help out and be a threat if they need me out there on the field (at receiver)," Daniels said.


He has certainly demonstrated that desire. First making the transition to tight end, then receiver and now also trying to work his way onto the field on special teams as well.


"I've been working with special teams here at camp so far," Daniels said. "If they need me I'm going to do it and I'm going to be willing to do it."

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