A fresh face, Badger fans - Jerell McDaniel

Jerell McDaniel is a dual threat on the football field for the East St Louis high school team. His stat sheet is a Clark Kellogg "stat sheet stuffer" special, and his speed can break a play wide open. He has committed to playing for the Wisconsin Badgers, but a detour is on the road to Madison. Read on as we caught up with the All-St Louis Metro Defensive Player of the Year for 2006.

He is not exactly a diamond in the rough, but before the last five days, you can bet there were many Wisconsin Badger fans they knew very little or nothing about Jerell McDaniel.

They will begin to follow him. Now.

"I have committed to play football for the University of Wisconsin." the East St. Louis product says. "But, I will have to attend a prep school out in New York for a year before I get to Madison."

Jerell is a 6'0", 185 pound speedster who can burn you in many ways on the field. In 2006, he helped lead the Flyers to an 11-1 record and an appearance in the Illinois Class 7A quarterfinals. Just look at the statistics from this season:

2006 Defense: 11 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss (41 solo tackles), and eight interceptions. Those numbers helped earn him the St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year award.

2006 Offense: He hauled in 36 receptions for 913 yards and 20 touchdowns. That is an astonishing 25.4 yards per reception.

You can see why, according to an article in the Post-Dispatch, one Badger assistant coach is quoted as having said, "this kid is an NFL-caliber type receiver." The numbers do not lie. It is not as though the Flyers are using a spread style offense all the time, either.

"We just run a basic offense, man." McDaniel states. "It is a fun set and we throw in some shotgun. The key is just blocking the right way and running your routes. I am good at just running routes."

Being a 4.4 forty speed guy helps in those routes, also. That speed also equated into a great junior season in 2005. During that year, he caught 42 balls for 1,047 yards and 20 TD. So, if you are scoring at home, that is 40 TD for a wide receiver in a basic offense. In two seasons of play. Also, he averaged 25.4 yards per reception and almost two touchdowns per game. There are very few high school players in the nation that can boast of those statistics.

"I have a good coach and a good quarterback." McDaniel proclaims. "They just know what to call and how to run the plays. On third day, when we need a play, they know who to throw it to. I am going to make the play if it comes my way."

Jerell told me that he "was recruited by pretty much every Big Ten school." Wisconsin may have been the first one to contact him, and that made an impression.

"When you get a letter from Wisconsin, you take notice." Jerell says. "They got a great team up there and they are from the Big Ten." He always wanted to be an in-state guy because he follows Illinois. But they never pushed hard on him so he took what was available. "If I cannot play for the home state school, at least I can play for a team nearby. Wisconsin is one of the better choices you get."

Unfortunately, Badger fans will have to wait until the fall of 2008 to see McDaniel in the cardinal and white. He will go the prep school route to retain his academic eligibility by NCAA and Wisconsin standards.

"Every day I am out there (prep school), I am going to remember one thing." the very outspoken wide receiver says. "I am going to be a Badger football player next year. We will have a good team."

As for what you can expect from him.

"When I get there, people will have nothing to worry about." Jerell states. "Things are going to be good."

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