Overview: Johnny Daniels is a senior who played defensive lineman. He started off his college career at Purdue before transferring to the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. He has a good motor, who has a good football I.Q. who also displays good athleticism. He was one of the played who was invited and participated in the HBCU Spirit of America Bowl Game.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Johnny, during which time he told me more about his background, his personality and his experience playing in the HBCU Bowl.
C: For the people who do not know your story, how did you wind up choosing University of Arkansas Pine Bluff?
JD: After graduating from Purdue, I was realistic about the limitations I had in making it to the next level due to the lack of personal footage/film I had. Altogether, I could have given up on my passion for a sport I have loved since my childhood. Instead, I was determined to keep on trying by attending an organization that allowed me to get enough film enabling me to compete at the next level. First, I contacted a resource that knew of a couple of schools in need of a defensive interior linemen. At this point I didn’t care about how big the school was. I just wanted to be a part of a program who needed what I had to offer and grant me the opportunity. When I spoke to Coach Santos and Coach Coleman they displayed the epitome of greatness and the sincere to work with my talent to achieve maximum results. So I gave my commitment to them and the program.
C: I read that you participated in the HBCU Spirit of America Bowl Game. For you to be there in front of scouts and executives showing your talents, what did that mean for you?
JD: Words cannot explain how thankful I am for that opportunity. I feel as if it helped out a lot as far as given me further exposure. In addition, it gave scouts and executives alike an opportunity to get a close evaluation of what I can offer, if selected to their team.
C: What was the process like?
JD: It’s definitely a learning experience. I would describe it as stressful, but at the same time exciting. This just teaches me that I have to be patient and just continue to grind daily, taking everything in one day at a time, and being mindful of controlling only what’s in my control.
C: What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
JD: I would say my strengths are my athleticism, technique, IQ, and motor which I believe will help me produce at the next level. My weaknesses are that I may sometimes over do things out of fear of being under prepared.
C: What separates you from the other players at your position?
JD: What separates me from other players is that I’m still a raw talent that can instantly produce. I have a lot of growing to do while others are at their peak. I feel as if I will be a great steal for any organization that is willing to invest in me.
C: Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
JD: Gerald McCoy always comes to mind because of the first step he has, the way he uses his hips, hands, and feet. He’s just extremely disruptive with plenty of explosive movements, which is how I can see myself in a few more years under the right program.
C: Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced in your college career?
JD: There are plenty of amazing athletes in the Big Ten that I could name, but to actually compete against would be QB – Davonte Kincade from Grambling. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran a 4.4, he also had a quick release.
C: How do you prepare for game day? Do you have any game day rituals?
JD: I usually just listen to the same songs in the same order, review the game plan, meditate, and say a pre-game prayer.
C: What is the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you in your college career?
JD: The most powerful thing a coach has ever said to me was, “The difference between great and average is the sacrifice you make!”
C: What should people reading this interview know about you?
JD: People reading this should know that I will be a valuable asset to any organization that gives me an opportunity because I have the mindset and the passion for football that allows me to perform at the highest level of play. I’ve been on the big stages in college as well as the small. Using that experience and the knowledge, I’ve gained insight on how to adjust to any situation in front of me. I may not be the strongest or fastest on the field, but my motor, effort, along with my determination will make me unforgettable.
Locker Room Update would like to thank Johnny Daniels for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his journey as a professional football player.
You can check out his highlights here.
You can check out his HBCU Spirit of America Bowl Game clips here.
Christa is a syndicated New York Jets beat writer and acts as the primary talent scout for Locker Room Update, where she interviews college football players from around the nation. You can follow her author page on Facebook here for the latest updates.