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September 28, 2010

Irish 'love' lands Daniels

One final pitch got DaVaris Daniels over the top.

But what the four-star receiver heard from Irish head coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday night wasn't the only thing that got this 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete from Vernon Hills, Ill., to commit to Notre Dame. From the start Daniels couldn't help but notice how badly the football program and nearly everyone associated with it wanted him in South Bend.

They'll get what they wanted.

Daniels will too as Notre Dame's 20th verbal commitment.

"When you talk to coach Kelly you realize that you don't get this kind of love from most every college," Daniels said. "I got the most love from Notre Dame, the fans, the coaches, everybody around it. There was so much love. It was hard to pass up."

So Daniels didn't.

The Rivals250 prospect and No. 2 player in Illinois is the second receiver in the Irish class, following four-star athlete George Atkinson III. Daniels said he's wanted to commit to Notre Dame from the start but needed to make sure the decision to follow his friend TJ Jones to South Bend was the right one.

"I'm so excited right now, I can't even explain it," Daniels said. "I've been ready for a while to do it. I just wanted to make sure I took my time, make sure nothing else would pop up to change my mind."

Daniels expects to take his official visit during the football banquet weekend in December. That weekend figures to be a reunion of sorts considering Daniels has connected with the Irish recruiting class already assembled.

The standout from Vernon Hills High School said he's been in touch with Kyle Brindza, Jarrett Grace, Brad Carrico and Justice Hayes. Daniels hasn't overlooked the fact Notre Dame's class already ranks among the best in the nation, inching closer to Top 5 status follow the receiver's decision.

"I think this class kind of outweighs everything that happens this season," Daniels said. "There are a lot of great things coming down the road. What happens this year isn't in my control, but down the road, that's you, that's your class. We want to be the class that turns everything around.

"When everything is written on paper, it looks like we're going to be the ones to do it."

Watching the Irish start 1-3 from a distance has been a struggle, but those losses haven't given Daniels pause about what's coming.

"It's kind of expected with a new coach and everything," Daniels said. "Not everything is going to be perfect in the first couple years."

Daniels said he projects as an outside receiver in Kelly's spread offense and the four-star prospect hopes to follow Jones' lead by making an early impact, although he said he won't enroll early. Daniels' father, Washington Redskins defensive lineman Phillip Daniels, is Jones' uncle.

"TJ came in and had the same situation that I'll have, thinking about a shot to play right away," Daniels said. "TJ is a little smaller. I'm 6-3 and can be an outside guy or an inside guy. I'll play whatever. I hope I can come in next year and handle the things that TJ did, maybe a little more."







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