An 18-Year Wait is Almost Over for Daniels

Sept. 25, 2013

Interview with L. Daniels

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It will be more than a routine game for University of Iowa freshman running back LeShun Daniels, Jr., when the Hawkeyes travel to Minnesota on Sept. 28 in a Big Ten Conference football opener.

Daniels, a true freshman from Warren, Ohio, will get his first taste of big time Big Ten defenders, and he can’t wait. Actually, he has waited 18 years.

“It will be a fun experience,” Daniels said Wednesday following practice. “This is something I have been waiting for my entire life. I always wanted to play college football, especially at a level like this.”

Daniels saw his first action Sept. 7 during a 28-14 victory against Missouri State, carrying the ball six times for 30 yards. His first run as a Hawkeye went for seven yards and a first down.

During a 59-3 win against Western Michigan on Sept. 21, Daniels rushed 13 times for 54 yards and a career-long of 14. The number of attempts tied for a team game-high and his yardage total was second only to Jordan Canzeri’s 73.

“LeShun is a guy that has been very attentive and grabs concepts well,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s picked things up amazingly quickly. He doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed with anything, whether it was on the practice field in August, and now that the games have begun. He seems comfortable doing what he does. He always kind of looks the same, which is good. That’s a positive.”

Iowa had a 24-0 lead on Western Michigan when Daniels ran for eight yards, but fumbled the ball over to the Broncos. It led to the visitors’ only three points of the game.

“I got over it. I knew I would have other chances so I had to shake that off to put together good runs after that. I put it in the back of my head and worried about the next play.”

“It was one of those things and in some ways it’s a blessing that it happened and we didn’t have to pay a price for it,” Ferentz said. “Those things are going to happen.”

After four games, Daniels is fifth on the team with 84 rushing yards. He is benefiting from the knowledge of running backs ahead of him on the depth chart: Mark Weisman (468 yards), Damon Bullock (203) and Jordan Canzeri (102).

“It’s great to be around them because they have experienced everything,” Daniels said. “They have been through a lot of stuff and they help me so I can catch up to speed.”

Weisman notices the improvement in Daniels.

“He has been getting better every practice and every game.” Weisman said. “He is getting more carries and getting his feet wet which is good for him.”

Daniels has enjoyed his first few months in Iowa City, calling it a “great environment.”

“I have loved everything so far,” Daniels said. “I am having a great experience.”