B.J. Daniels will never play another down for USF, but you would be hard pressed to keep him off the football field the next three weeks.
Despite breaking his left leg against UConn two weeks ago, Daniels plans on being on the sideline to help mentor quarterbacks Matt Floyd and Bobby Eveld, starting Saturday at Miami. Though Daniels is hobbling around on crutches and a boot on his left leg -- getting to the kitchen is a huge accomplishment -- he wants to help his teammates in any way he can.
Nobody would expect anything less from the gregarious Daniels, the most popular player on the team.
"Throughout the years, I’ve tried to do anything and everything I could to stay consistent and help out USF," Daniels said Tuesday in his first comments since getting hurt Nov. 3. "That was the most important thing to me, even now it still is. I’m going to travel with the team, and if I still have a voice and my voice isn’t broken, I’m still going to help out as much as I can."
Daniels says he got over the disappointment of his injury the day after he got hurt. But in the time between he was taken off the field and into the locker room for X-rays, well -- that was another story. He did not need tests to tell him how badly he was hurt. He felt a pop. It was the first time he had ever broken any bone in his body.
What lifted his spirits were his teammates coming to greet him after the game. Every single player went into the training room to see Daniels, who tried to remain stoic despite his predicament.
"I let all my emotions out before the game was over, thinking about everything and how it all ended like this, more so than the pain of breaking a bone," Daniels said. "That was pretty shocking to me, but I tried to hold myself together and stay strong. A lot of the guys were joking and laughing with me, a lot of them were just talking to me. At that moment with all the support, it just made me smile as opposed to dwelling on the pain and disappointment of the injury."
Daniels ends his career just short of the Big East career mark for total offense, finishing with 1o,501 yards to rank second behind former teammate Matt Grothe. But when asked what his lasting legacy would be at USF, he did not talk about his stats.
"Just the type of relationships I built, having the opportunity to meet two different coaching staffs, guys I played with," Daniels said. "We’ve had a lot of big wins, I've broken records, but it will be real soon when they all fall. That’s not even what has been important to me. Even the record I was approaching, that was something that happened by chance. It wasn’t something I set out to do, it wasn’t something I was thinking about. It was just trying to help out this team and this program."
Daniels should be healed in time to begin preparations for the draft, but he also has started thinking about life after football. The week before he got hurt, he talked to an FBI recruiter about what he needs to do to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a federal agent. He is going to a workshop Tuesday night to learn more.
But that does not mean his pro football plans are on hold.
"I've really explored all my options as far as the professional field, whether working in the office, or as part of the force or the football field," Daniels said. "I'm going to try to do what I can to make sure I have a career. I do have to continue life after USF."
Hard to picture that, isn't it? Given how connected Daniels has been to the USF program the past four years.