Versatile DaVaris Daniels thrives in face of high expectations

DaVaris Daniels started his high school career the way most players dream of.

As a freshman, his first varsity touch for Vernon Hills (Ill.) was a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

"When he came to us as a freshman, his football instincts were so rare for his age," coach Tony Monken said. "He burst onto the scene."

He hasn't let up. During his career, he has gained 1,082 yards receiving, 625 yards rushing and 467 yards passing while lining up at receiver, running back and quarterback in the wildcat. He's done all this in the shadow of his father, Phillip Daniels, currently a 37-year-old defensive end for the Washington Redskins.

Monken said the younger Daniels' 6-foot-3 height, 41½-inch vertical jump and 4.4 40-yard dash speed allow him to be a dominant force.

"There's a lot of guys out there who are fast, but not a lot who are taller than 6-1," Monken said. "It's freaky."

More important, Monken said, Daniels does the little things right.

"He has great peripheral vision," he said. "He doesn't slow down out of his breaks, so he can make that cut that puts a defender on his butt."

Daniels is undecided on a college. He had planned a June 22 press conference to announce his decision, but since has chosen to wait until after his senior season.

Daniels shares the spotlight at Vernon Hills with Evan Spencer, a receiver who has committed to Ohio State. Monken said Spencer's presence takes some of the pressure off Daniels, but he thinks Daniels could handle it anyway.

"I think he kind of thrives on it," Monken said. "He's such a fun kid to be around. I don't think that fazes him."