Oct. 21, 2011
- 2011 Game Day Central
- 2011 Fall Camp Central
- America Needs Farmers
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
- Iowa Football Wallpaper
Editor’s Note: Mike Daniels is the 2011-12 recipient of the Theo and Glenda Hitchens Football Scholarship. The scholarship is in memory of the Hitchens. The Hitchens were from Independence, Iowa and were longtime season tickets holders and I-Club members. The gift was established through a bequest in their estate.
Hawkeye Visions is the name of the endowment program of the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. It seeks to create endowed scholarships for all starting positions on the UI’s 24 sports programs. To make a scholarship gift or for more information about the Hawkeye Visions Endowment Program, please contact Sloane Tyler, director of development, at (319) 467-3410 or (800) 648-6973. The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of The University of Iowa.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Mike Daniels plays the game of football with a chip on his shoulder. He also plays the game with a motor humming on high because of the opportunity presented to him by the University of Iowa.
It’s been a pretty successful combination for the senior from Blackwood, N.J. Daniels entered the 2011 season as a preseason All-America and all-Big Ten selection and with his name on a few “Watch Lists.” He’s delivered.
Through the Hawkeyes’ first six games, the 6-foot-1, 280-pound defensive tackle leads Iowa with six tackles for loss and 3 ½ quarterback sacks, marks that also rank among the best in the Big Ten Conference. If he maintains his current pace, Daniels will set new personal bests for himself while, perhaps, opening the door for yet another opportunity for the soft-spoken Hawkeye.
“I dealt with a lot of negativity growing up. I remember all kinds of people telling me things like `You’re not going to make it,’ or `Give it up…the football team isn’t going to win a game,’ or `Don’t even think about playing college football,” Daniels told the group of about 200 who gathered earlier this month for the monthly “All Staff” meeting of the UI Athletics Department.
“I’d like to think I proved them wrong,” he smiled.
He did, in part, because the Iowa football coaching staff saw something in Daniels that no other coaching staff other than one NCAA Football Championship Series (NCAA Division I-AA) team saw: A talented young man who had what it took to compete successfully on the biggest stage: Big Ten Conference football.
“It’s been a great experience. I believe I’ve really grown as a young man. My experience here has made be even better prepared for attacking anything else that comes my way and I do believe you have to attack some things in life. Otherwise you might just get run over.”
“I remember when Coach (Kirk) Ferentz called and asked if I’d like to come play at Iowa. Wow. Heck yes! I mean, seriously, how could I not?” Daniels chuckled.
“It’s been a great experience,” added Daniels, one of four seniors on the UI football program’s Leadership Group.
“I believe I’ve really grown as a young man. My experience here has made me even better prepared for attacking anything else that comes my way and I do believe you have to attack some things in life. Otherwise you might just get run over.”
Daniels is on pace to receive his bachelor’s degree in sociology in December. Like many before him who have been a part of the Iowa football program, Daniels also has an eye on a shot at playing in the National Football League. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll forget where that opportunity was nurtured.
“I may be gone but you won’t forget this face. Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye!” he added.