The four years he spent in Louisiana as a child have prompted quarterback Christian Daniels to return for four more.
Daniels, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound prospect from Western Alamance High in Elon, North Carolina, committed to Tulane on Tuesday night, switching his allegiance from Miami (Ohio). Rated three stars by 247 Sports and two stars by Rivals.com, he said he would enroll in January, allowing him to participate in spring drills.
The son of Air Force parents who frequently were on the move, Daniels lived in Bossier City from age 7 to 11. His dad is retired, but his mom is still on active duty.
“Really Louisiana was my first home in the United States, so initially I had a big interest in Tulane,” he said. “I had a great connection with the coaches and other commits at Miami, but I just felt like I had a better opportunity at Tulane. I felt like I could make an immediate impact.”
He will arrive with impressive credentials, having completed 131 of 211 passes for 1,819 yards and 20 touchdowns, while running 112 times for 846 yards and 12 scores through 12 games. Western Alamance is 12-0 and has outscored opponents 582-83 entering its second-round game in the state playoffs.
Daniels also finished fifth in the 100 meters at the North Carolina state track and field championships last year.
“I’m one of the fastest kids in the state,” he said. “I can make things happen with my legs, and that’s a great help for me escaping the pocket. I like running the football, and I know they (Tulane’s coaches) like for the quarterback to be able to run.”
Daniels, who had offers from Purdue and the three service academies among others, said Tulane began recruiting him in June and ratcheted up the attention after he committed to Miami in August. An official visit two weekends ago for the Cincinnati game swayed him to the Green Wave.
“I really loved the campus and the school and all of the coaching staff,” he said. “Their offense has a lot of RPOs (run-pass options), and that’s similar to what I do now, so I can just integrate myself into the offense a lot easier.”
If he follows through on his commitment, he could be one of five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster next spring, joining holdover senior starter Jonathan Banks, senior Glen Cuiellette, junior Johnathan Brantley and redshirt freshman Khalil McClain. Another commitment, Patrick Shegog of Batesville (Mississippi) South Panola, announced Wednesday via Twitter he would pursue other options.
Daniels said he would be the second player ever from Western Alamance to get a Division I football scholarship. The first was running back Darius Pinnix, who signed with East Carolina in 2016.
Tulane stuffed Pinnix on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in overtime to beat the Pirates on Saturday, but Daniels anticipates being much harder to stop.
In the meantime, he will try to guide his team to a state championship while honing his game. Western Alamance is the top seed in 3A, the fourth largest of eight North Carolina classifications.
“I feel like I can still work on looking off on my reads,” he said. “Sometimes I stare it down a little too long, get caught up in it and end up having to run. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I know they are a whole lot faster at the next level and I might not be able to do that as much.”
Senior offensive tackle John Leglue and freshman defensive end Cameron Sample have not practiced this week in preparation for Saturday’s game with Houston. Leglue left in the first half against East Carolina with a leg injury. Sample sat out that game with an unspecified injury. … Robert Kennedy, who started in place of Sample, had four tackles on Saturday, giving him a team-high nine in the last two games since returning from a torn ACL. … Defensive end Ade Aruna and cornerback Parry Nickerson have been selected to the 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The all-star game will be on Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, with a 1 p.m. kickoff on FS1.