Daniels’ injury marks ‘end of an era’
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 07:11
In one play, the face of the USF football program was writhing in pain on the ground. In one play, a memorable career ended, almost the same way that it began. And, in one play, senior quarterback B.J. Daniels would never play another down at USF.
“I heard (my leg) pop, I felt it, and it was something I hadn’t ever felt before,” Daniels said about his injury. “I’ve never actually broken a bone ever ... I wasn’t thinking about it from a broad standpoint, but I knew I was done for the game.”
While the rest of the football team celebrated its victory against Connecticut on Nov. 3, the team’s first win since the second week of the season, its leader was huddled on a training table, realizing that his college career — a career that began with a previous senior quarterback’s injury — was at an end.
“It was crazy,” sophomore receiver Andre Davis said. “After the game I went to see him in the training room. He was crying, and down. I told him to keep his head up. Then after the game I thought about how much I wished he could celebrate with us after leading us to the win.”
In his first media appearance since the injury, Daniels said he is adjusting to dealing with the injury to his left leg.
“I’m taking it all in, trying to adjust to just walking to the kitchen,” he said. “I’m just trying to continue to do the things I set out to do, as far as being a good person and being a good leader.”
While Daniels’ career began when quarterback Matt Grothe suffered a career-ending ACL injury, he was now forced to the other side with his own injury — a scenario he said was “disappointing.”
“There’s no anger,” he said. “I’m just trying to understand why things happen the way they do. It has been difficult for me to sit out of games in years past, to watch from the sidelines, so to see it end for me physically the way it did was a little disappointing.”
Through five seasons at USF, Daniels has seen a multitude of situations, from big wins and bowl games to close losses and agonizing losing streaks. His teammates said not having him on the field is a different experience.
“B.J. is just as big a name as George Selvie, Matt Grothe or any name that goes down in USF history,” senior linebacker Sam Barrington, who said he and Daniels are best friends off the field, said. “He should be as big as one of those names, and if you ask me, he should be in the Hall of Fame. It’s the end of an era, and USF will change with him gone. I’m not saying it will change for the worse, but it will change.”
Daniels got a chance to reflect on his roller coaster career at USF, one that began with a historic win over the No. 17 Seminoles in Tallahassee in 2009, a win he still cherishes as one of his best memories.
While the injury ended Daniels’ college career, he still has an opportunity to pursue a career in the NFL and said he is working with strength and conditioning coaches to get himself healthy for the NFL Draft, but is also planning a future outside of football.
“Obviously the NFL is my dream,” he said. “But if that doesn’t work out, then I already have my degree in criminology and I’ve set up appointments with FBI agents and things like that, so I’m just trying to get healthy first and then hopefully the future will fall and go my way.”
Though Daniels will not throw another pass, avoid another sack or stiff arm another would-be tackler in a USF uniform, disappearing from the program is not in his immediate plans.
The senior can be seen on the sidelines of every practice, offering advice and guidance to the players who have been thrust into the limelight in an injury-riddled 2012 season.
“I still have a voice, I can still talk, and I can still be positive for Bobby (Eveld) and Matt (Floyd),” he said. “I can still let them know what I saw from when I went out there. I’ve actually been in their shoes, so I’m trying to pass any knowledge to them that I can.”