ND’s DaVaris Daniels making big push at WR
September 18, 2013 11:24PM
Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, left, pushes off Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen on his way to an 82-yard touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: October 20, 2013 7:49AM
SOUTH BEND — The stiff arm has been part of DaVaris Daniels’ repertoire since his days at Vernon Hills (Ill.) High School.
The Notre Dame wide receiver found an opportune time to utilize it again Saturday at Purdue.
Daniels caught a long pass down the right sideline in the fourth quarter. He used the stiff arm to keep Boilermakers cornerback Ricardo Allen away. At the same time, Daniels maintained his balance along the sideline on the way to an 82-yard touchdown to give the Irish their first lead of an eventual 31-24 victory.
“I like to do it (the stiff arm) in certain situations,” Daniels said Wednesday. “It just came out and it worked out.”
Daniels has been wearing out the opposition this season. He leads Notre Dame with 299 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
“You’ve seen his potential and the way he can have big plays,” quarterback Tommy Rees said. “He’s going to continue to work hard and get better.”
Daniels got better throughout Saturday’s game.
He had two catches for 37 yards in the first half. He also had one drop in the half.
The second half was a different story for Daniels and Notre Dame.
Daniels had six receptions in the final 30 minutes, including touchdown receptions of 9 and 82 yards. He finished with a career-high 167 yards.
“He can obviously impact a football game,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “We want him to impact it four quarters, and he’s capable of doing that. It just requires that mental approach, which is coming. And you can see it. You can see it in practice. You can see it in the way he’s maturing off the field. He’s doing all the little things.
“To be that great player, you’ve got to have it all going for you in everything that you do, and he’s growing up and he’s getting better. But there’s definitely more there for him to grow into.”
Daniels didn’t see any action in 2011. He had 31 catches for 490 yards last season, including 115 yards in the BCS title game against Alabama.
Daniels has carried that title game performance over to 2013. He has 17 receptions and is averaging 17.6 yards per catch.
“It’s kind of night and day from where he was last season,” Notre Dame wide receiver TJ Jones said. “He’s making a lot more bigger plays this year. He’s getting YAC (yards after catches). He’s making plays and being a leader. He’s becoming one of those guys you can lean on to make that clutch play.”
Daniels is focused on being consistent.
“You want to come off the field at the end of the season saying I did everything I could,” Daniels said. “The end result will be the end result, no matter what. The only thing you can really do is focus on the day, try to get better and do the things you know you can do on a consistent basis.”