Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella completed his first recruiting class with a signing day special from a big defensive tackle out of Dallas.
Damion Daniels announced Wednesday during a nationally-televised broadcast that he would be signing with the Huskers instead of other finalists Colorado and Texas-San Antonio. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound prospect from Dallas Bishop Dunne High School completes Parrella’s four-man recruiting class with fellow tackles Deontre Thomas and Deiontae Watts plus end Guy Thomas.
With his voice wavering, Daniels thanked friends and family. Pausing at times to wipe his nose and eyes, he recognized high school coaches and college recruiters who invested in him.
Then he closed his two-minute speech with a big smile as he pulled out a “Huskers” hat from below the podium. Cheers went up from his Dallas Bishop Dunne High School gymnasium as he placed it on his head.
“It was really simple and it was really, really hard because they have a great coaching staff,” Daniels said of the Huskers during an ESPNU interview. “The hospitality they showed, I know I’d be successful at Nebraska and they’ll get me to the next level.”
Daniels said NU was among the schools who continued talking with him, “even when I didn’t want to speak to them, and I say thank you for that.” He added that he was won over by the environment, the community and his future teammate during an official visit to Lincoln in September.
“I got size,” Daniels said. “There’s always room for improvement, but I just can’t wait to get up there.”
Nebraska was long considered the heavy favorite to land Daniels. The Huskers offered him in April 2016 and hosted him on an unofficial visit a couple months later. Daniels then returned to Lincoln on an official visit for the season opener.
It took several more months of work for Parrella and the rest of the Nebraska coaches to eventually secure Daniels’ commitment. That went right up to the end of the recruiting cycle, with Parrella and new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco making their final in-home visit with Daniels and his family last week.
Daniels could potentially play nose tackle in Diaco’s new 3-4 defensive scheme, which requires a big body to occupy a lot of space in the middle of the line.
Daniels had a standout senior season at Bishop Dunne, finishing with 78 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He’s considered a three-star prospect by most of the major recruiting services — though ESPN rates him as a four-star — and he ranks as the nation’s No. 48 defensive tackle, according to the 247Sports composite.
A year after not signing a player from Texas, the Huskers had much more success in the Lone Star State in 2017, and Daniels was a part of that. NU also landed Watts and offensive tackle Brenden Jaimes from the state of Texas in this class.
And there could be more in the future coming from Daniels’ school. Nebraska has also offered Daniels’ teammates Calvin Avery, a 2018 defensive lineman, and 2019 safety Brian Williams.
NU was also in the running early for another Daniels teammate — 2017 corner Chevin Calloway. He took an official visit during the season but eventually eliminated the Huskers from contention before also announcing his commitment on ESPNU Wednesday.
Below is his tweet announcing his commitment:
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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