husker football player stands with reporters after the game
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Hot Reads: Nebraska Spring Game Short List – DT Darrion Daniels

April 10, 2019

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has some thoughts on transfers.

As others noted last November, this not-nuanced, Facebook meme of a take was more than a little ironic. Ironic because Gundy, in the spring of 1986, was considered an Oklahoma lock. The signing-day stories from that year included him in the Sooners class. It was a foregone conclusion.

But Gundy never signed with Oklahoma. Six days after national signing day, he flipped to Oklahoma State citing the Cowboys' superior baseball program (sure), an offense that better fit his skill set (makes sense) and the ability to "play quicker there" (wait, what was that again about “fighting through it”?).

"I'm just an 18-year-old kid who's a little immature," Gundy told The Daily Oklahoman the day he changed his mind.

Guess the standard has changed since then. Or maybe it's just which side of the equation Gundy is on that has changed. Point being, we know where he stands now on "transfer culture"; he dislikes it in a very common way (for coaches) and describes that dislike with uncommon (non-nuanced) color.

Based on that, it would've been reasonable to guess Gundy wasn't real excited to learn, a month after his comments above, that his one-time prize recruit, four-year starter and team leader, defensive tackle Darrion Daniels, planned to transfer to Nebraska to play his final season with his brother.

And Gundy wasn't excited about it, again painting the Cowboys end-of-season transfers as a whole as some sort of societal/generational problem, but then he did also say this: ""I talked to [Daniels] briefly today just to say, 'Hey, I love you, you love me, and good luck to you.'"

I now believe that the type of person Daniels is was perhaps the reason for Gundy's brief flirtation there with new-age coaching philosophy (did he say "love?"). While you can chose to hate transfers for whatever reason you want, it's just too hard to hate Daniels.

At least that's the impression I've gotten after his first few months on Nebraska's campus. Expectations are high for a graduate transfer with Daniels' credentials, and so far he seems to be exceeding them.

"He's brought a spark to that d-line, a sense of accountability to the d-line and the whole defense," Scott Frost said in March. "He's going to be a real asset for us and I'm not just talking about on the field. He's going to help us off the field as well."

To this point, we probably have heard more about Daniels' off-the-field contributions to his position group. That's why he's a no-brainer pick for the Spring Game Short List. I'm ready to see him on the field for the first time in scarlet and cream.

And while we have yet to see how the team will be divided for Saturday's scrimmage, if we could get a matchup of Daniels against Nebraska's young center hopefuls, that would be even better.

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