B.J. Daniels shows skills to NFL reps at USF Pro Day
TAMPA - B.J. Daniels wants to continue playing quarterback, the position where he was a four-year starter at the University of South Florida. If National Football League teams have something different in mind, Daniels said he’s prepared to be flexible. “I have no idea (what other positions I could play), but I’m sticking around a little bit to do some long-snapping,’’ Daniels said with a laugh Wednesday during USF’s Pro Day, where all 32 NFL teams were represented.The three USF players invited to last month’s NFL Combine at Indianapolis – linebacker Sam Barrington, defensive tackle Cory Grissom and cornerback Kayvon Webster – led a contingent of two dozen Bulls who sprinted, jumped, lifted weights and displayed football skills for the league’s scouts. But Daniels, who accounted for 10,501 career yards of total offense before suffering a season-ending broken ankle in November, might be the most intriguing prospect of all. Daniels has received encouraging feedback from several general managers, many of whom like him as a quarterback. With the advent of young, multi-dimensional quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson (Seattle) and Colin Kapernick (San Francisco), Daniels said his skill set might be a good fit for the NFL. Just in case, though, scouts also asked Daniels to backpedal and catch passes. On a blustery day, Daniels also threw passes, making the most of the gusting-wind conditions. “B.J. is an athlete,’’ Barrington said. “He’s going to be successful at anything. He could pick up a golf club and swing (well). That’s just the kind of guy he is. If they want him to backpedal or get in a stance, I don’t think he’ll have too much trouble adjusting.’’ Daniels was pleased with his showing on Wednesday. In the 40-yard dash, Daniels logged times of 4.63 and 4.66, though one scout had him at 4.58. He did 20 bench-press repetitions at 225 pounds. His vertical leap was 30-1/2 inches. “That’s off a broken ankle,’’ Daniels said. “I think it’s a major plus just to be standing here on my own two feet. I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish.’’ Daniels, who has been training in Miami, originally expected to be jogging by Feb. 1. Instead, he was running full-speed on that date. By now, he feels all the way back. “It’s a chance to stay focused and positive,’’ Daniels said. “(The injury) happened at the end of my senior season, so that was (disappointing). But now, it’s nice to even be back out here. “I look at the NFL and see how the transition has gone at quarterback. I might be coming along at a good time. For me personally, this is about doing the same thing I’ve been doing at USF – just smile, have fun, enjoy the experience, keep a positive attitude and encourage my teammates. I like to feed off the people around me.’’ Barrington also showed well, recording a vertical jump of 37 feet and running in the 4.5-4.6 range in the 40. But the best numbers might have been registered by cornerback George Baker, who ran in the 4.3 range in the 40 (one scout had a 4.28). Baker also topped out at 39-1/2 inches in the vertical jump. “Blazing,’’ Barrington said. “I knew he was going to run fast.’’ Afterward, Baker was approached by a half-dozen scouts, who wanted more information about him. “It’s exciting to be out here,’’ Baker said. “Of course, we all want a shot at the NFL. We have all dreamed about that. Here’s a chance to show them what you can do.’’ For Daniels, that means doing whatever it takes. “I’m confident in my ability,’’ Daniels said. “I’m trying to play it cool, but I don’t know if I’m doing a good job at that. This is just a process where I have to prove myself all over again and I’m willing to do whatever they ask.’’
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