Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) junior Dorian O’Daniel knows all about the importance of tradition.
And it’s tradition that’s helped the Falcons become one of the nation’s top football programs. Specifically, it’s the upperclassmen’s job to pass along all the integral knowledge, like what makes Good Counsel so successful, to the talented newcomers.
So that means spending extra time in the weight room and studying the playbook off the field and then filling your role come game time.
O’Daniel, who moved from Pittsburgh in the seventh grade, was taught all of that coming up at Good Counsel, and now he’s sharing all he’s learned to the underclassmen. And that will be especially important this season as the young Falcons look to replace several talented players from a team that finished undefeated for first time in school history, captured its third straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title and was ranked No. 5 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
Rated the nation’s No. 73 recruit in the ESPN 150, O’Daniel played a huge role on last season’s team while splitting time at running back and outside linebacker. He finished with 897 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 127 carries (7.1 yards per carry) and 38.5 tackles (15.5 for loss) and five sacks on defense.
This will be O’Daniel’s first season as a full-time starter at both positions this fall, and he and the likes of teammate Kendall Fuller, the No. 27 recruit in the ESPN 150, will look to make sure Good Counsel keeps up its winning ways.
O’Daniel made sure there won’t be any distractions by committing to Clemson in April. And his focus was on display at the Baltimore Nike Football Training Camp, where he earned an invite to The Opening.
Get Familiar with the two-way standout to see what he’s looking forward to this year.
ESPNHS: What does it mean to play for Good Counsel?
O’Daniel: It’s truly a blessing just to be a part of Good Counsel. One of the first things people think about Good Counsel is they produce good student-athletes, and to be a part of that is a good feeling.
ESPNHS: How would you describe what you were able to accomplish last year and how can you do more of the same this fall?
O’Daniel: Coming into the season, we knew everyone was going to try to knock us off the top, so we had to play extra hard every week. It’s more of a responsibility for us this year. We have big shoes to fill. Everyone is going to have to play their role. We’re making sure the young guys are in the weight room every day. You have to start this bond early so things will click once the season starts.
I’m looking forward to (this year) a lot. It’s my senior year. I’m not going to get any games back, so I’m going to leave it all out on the field.
ESPNHS: What led you to pick Clemson?
O’Daniel: Just going down there and getting the whole experience, I got a good vibe. It felt like a family atmosphere. It felt like home, honestly. If I’m spending four years in college, I want to feel comfortable there. There’s more to life than football. I’m focusing on getting a good education at Clemson and being productive in football.
ESPNHS: Have you talked to the coaching staff about letting you play a little running back?
O’Daniel: Right now, it’s strictly linebacker. The thought has crossed my mind about playing both ways.
ESPNHS: Does it help having teammates like Kendall Fuller going through the process with you and are you trying to get him to commit to Clemson now?
O’Daniel: Kendall is my brother. Just to talk about recruiting and comparing and contrasting thoughts to mine is huge. I’m in his ear about Clemson all the time. But it’s all fun and games right now.
ESPNHS: Who do you credit the most for getting you to this point?
O’Daniel: My mom, Kerri. She’s made so many sacrifices for me. I owe it all to her. She stood by me through the whole recruiting process. She’s put a lot on the line to help me.
School: Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)
Position: Running back/outside linebacker
TV Show: “Gruden QB Camp”
Musical Artist: Juicy J
Athlete: Reggie Bush
Pro Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
School Subject: English
Food: Steak and potatoes