On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
51°
Showers
H 54° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    51°
    Current Conditions
    Showers. H 54° L 37°
  • rain-day
    54°
    Today
    Showers. H 54° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    45°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 45° L 25°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

College
Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state
Close

Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state

Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state

Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state

EDITOR's NOTE: This original D.J. Daniel profile continues a special series in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau profiling homegrown talent from the state of Georgia. To access other HomeGrown Talent articles please visit the series hub on DawgNation.com.

D.J. Daniel has a longer homegrown story than most when it comes to playing for Georgia.

The 4-star CB grew up in Griffin and played for Nick Davis at Spalding High School. He told DawgNation that UGA would have been his choice coming out of high school.

But he wasn't academically eligible to sign with the Bulldogs after his senior year. It meant he had to take the junior college route to SEC football. Daniel did so at Georgia Military College.

It means he has two Georgia towns to look back on that helped him to where he is today.

Daniel rated as the nation's No. 2 junior college cornerback prospect in the 2020 cycle. That status also slotted him as No. 6 overall junior college recruit in the country last year.

When it came time for his decision last August, he surprised many when he chose South Carolina.

It did not last. He flipped his choice from South Carolina to Georgia in November.Nick Davis, his former high school coach at Spalding, gave DawgNation a pretty good breakdown of why that happened.

"D.J. grew up as a Georgia fan, and stated on numerous occasions that that's where he wanted to go to college," Davis said this summer. "I think when D.J. went to GMC, (South Carolina coach Will Muschamp) and his staff did a good job of recruiting him, and they had other players (at GMC) commit to South Carolina. Those relationships, and the fact that South Carolina was his first offer, I think D.J. kind of fell in love with that."

"But at the end of the day, when he visited Georgia again, he remembered that he had envisioned being in that uniform for his whole life. That's hard to deny, especially if the opportunity is there. I know that's where his family really wanted him to go. He battled with that decision, and ultimately he followed his heart."

Close

Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state

Good start so far for D.J. Daniel at UGA

Daniel is a physical corner with good speed and athleticism. He is strong in press coverage because he has the length and skills to do so. He'll just need to learn how to play off-the-ball and in a zone concept.

When he puts his foot down and takes off, he can go. No coach anywhere can teach that. He was hand-time at 4.40 and 4.42 seconds in the 40 at Georgia Military last summer.

The 6-foot, 185-pound junior quickly showed what he could do at the JUCO level. He basically had to.

Daniel was thrust into action in his first JUCO contest as a true freshman. By that point, he had already flashed enough ability to rotate in as the team's third-best corner heading into his freshman season.

Then his Game 1 baptism happened.GMC saw both of its starting cornerbacks go down in the season opener with dislocated elbows. Daniel received a true in-game promotion to the first team.

"We lost both of them by the midpoint of the first quarter of the first game," GMC coach Bert Williams said. "So (D.J.) had to start from then on after being in the second rotation to begin the year. We were down to three corners and thin there for a long time. D.J. just had to step in and reallycompete his butt off. He did."

He quickly earned major offers once South Carolina's defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson saw him move in the spring after that first season. He also had some very good film. The way the Griffin native covered ground cinched it.

Daniel has the benefit of signing early with UGA in December. It allowed him to participate in bowl practices. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said that provided a benefit.

The young man went from covering JUCO receivers to the three guys the Bulldogs saw drafted by the NFL this year.

"What's good about the corner position is we've got some guys coming along," Smart said. "D.J. Daniel, which we knew in bowl practice that he was going to be a good player because he was covering the likes of the ones who were at the combine. So we knew we had a pretty good player with D.J."

The former GMC Bulldog is now expected to contend for major reps this fall.

Close

Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state

D.J. Daniel already has a big play inside Sanford Stadium

Daniel broke up a pass on the final play for his Red team at G-Day back in April. That secured the victory for his side of the split-squad scrimmage.

It served notice that his name could also be on that list of expected impact newcomers this fall.

"If you know D.J., he definitely feels like he belongs," Davis told DawgNation this summer. "He will be highly-disappointed if he doesn't come out of camp as one of the top two guys. That's what he has his heart set on. I know he's going to accomplish that, barring any injuries. That's just his confidence and competitive nature, not arrogance."

The Bulldogs have not signed too many junior college players in the Kirby Smart era. He is a rare exception along with 4-star OLB Jermaine Johnson and DT Tramel Walthour in the 2019 class. As it turns out, new defensive coordinator Dan Lanning was a central figure in the recruitment of both of those Bulldogs out of the JUCO ranks.

Williams said Georgia told him it did not plan to take a JUCO cornerback in the last cycle. Maybe not until they saw Daniel put his foot in the ground and go, too.

"From my understanding, they really weren't looking for a junior college corner because of what they already have on the field," Williams said last summer. "But they were so impressed with what he can do after they saw him they pulled the trigger on him."

Deandre Baker was set to run out of eligibility last season. He did so after taking home the program's first Jim Thorpe Award. The Bulldogs would like to see Daniel shadow receivers pretty close to the way he did.

The learning curve won't be so steep given their age and playing experience beyond varsity football.

"They tell me that because they are looking at a JUCO corner then they want me to play now," Daniel said last summer. "If they were to sign a freshman, they know they can have him for three or four years and give him time to develop. When they recruit a JUCO guy like me, then they expect me to be able to play right away."

Georgia made it clear they wanted him to come in and earn key SEC reps quickly.

"They tell me I'm not just a want for them," he continued on. "They say I am a need' and the coaches at Georgia have told me they would not recruit a junior college corner if he could not play right away. I hear them say that and I feel it, too."

Close

Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state

Why D.J. Daniel is driven to excel at UGA

Daniel wants to take care of his mother. That's a common thread among college players. But his junior college path has ensured he will do whatever it takes to make it to Sundays.

That was evident through two days in his life coming up. The first was when he sat down with Davis and it became clear he wasn't going to go to college right out of high school.

His mother Amanda Mangham was there that day.

"We sat down and had a talk with Coach Davis," Daniel said last year. "He was just telling my mom we had to go the JUCO route. He said we still have a chance, but that was what we had to do. That was the day where I can say that we were all the most down. My mom was crying. She was disappointed in me. I knew I was better than that."

"I told myself that my hunger for the game had to go up even more. All that I ever want is for my mother to smile. She doesn't care what I do as long as I am successful at what I do. She just wants me to give it my all and to the best of my ability. I wasn't doing that in the classroom and earning my chance to play college football."

Fast forward two years later. Mangham was also there when the head coach of the defending SEC Champions extended the offer he used to dream about.

"What do I think was my happiest day over the last two years?" Daniel said last spring. "I think that was just getting the Georgia offer. That was when I saw my mom when it looked like she was the happiest. Don't get me wrong. She was really happy after all of my offers, but I think that me getting that Georgia offer really made her proud. It really made her proud."

He said he hadn't seen his mother that happy for him since the day he graduated from Spalding in 2017.

Daniel earned that offer after an on-campus workout in Athens. He felt he might have had an offer prior to his unofficial visit last June. But then he got an "official" offer from Smart.

"I met him before the camp that day started and he said that he had watched my film," Daniel said back in June of 2018. "He said he loved what I do. My long arms. Press coverage. I saw him after the camp and he told me that I had an offer here at Georgia' and when he told me that, it really took my breath away. It did. Man, I'm just going to stay humble through this process. .. But [that one] took my breath."

Daniel now has the chance to take DawgNation's breath away playing for the home state school. If he does, that will make it even sweeter doing it for the school he dreamed about growing up.

The post Georgia junior cornerback D.J. Daniel took a longer road to play for his home state appeared first on DawgNation.

Read More

News

  • The father of the Florida man accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, also had a history of violence, according to court records dating back 40 years. Robert Todt was convicted by a jury in 1980 for a murder-to-hire plot. It bears an eerie parallel to this week, when his son, Anthony Todt, told Osceola County detectives that he killed his wife, three children and family dog at their Celebration home, WFTV reported. Alan Rubenstein is now a judge in the same Pennsylvania community where he was an assistant district attorney in 1980, and prosecuted Robert Todt’s case. He said the Todts appeared to have a picturesque life. Neighbors had great things to say about Robert Todt, who was a special education teacher and wrestling coach at a Pennsylvania high school. Then, he was arrested for hiring one of his students to kill his wife, Loretta Todt, on March 19, 1980, at their Bensalem home, People reported. The student, John Chairmonte, pleaded guilty to his involvement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1980. At the time, Chairmonte was characterized as a “burglar and a drug addict,” the newspaper reported in a Dec. 13, 1980, Inquirer story. “Who do you expect Bob Todt to hire to kill his wife, Donny Osmond?' Rubenstein told the newspaper. “A shot was fired right into her skull,” Rubenstein told WFTV on Friday. “It landed through her left eye and blinded her. She should’ve died, but, amazingly, she survived.” What originally seemed like a home invasion didn’t add up, Rubenstein said. “Then we did some background checking on (Robert) Todt,” Rubenstein told WFTV. “We found out about his being engaged to this woman while he was married, about his various girlfriends, the fact that he was having a relationship with one of his students.” When Robert Todt was convicted in 1981, “everybody was wailing, especially his family members and Loretta,” Rubenstein recalled. “The calmest person in the courtroom was Robert Todt.” Robert Todt served about 10 years in prison. Investigators said Anthony Todt was in the home when his mother was shot. A local newspaper reported he woke up to his mother’s screams. Many have described Anthony Todt as a loving father and husband, devoted physical therapist and soccer coach to neighborhood kids. Investigators said they found Anthony Todt’s family’s bodies Monday, but believe Todt killed them weeks earlier. The FBI is also investigating Todt for Medicaid fraud, and records show he was being evicted from their Celebration home.
  • Will moviegoers finally find out what’s on Page 47? That’s a possibility as reports of a “National Treasure 3” movie are beginning to circulate. Chris Bremner, who was tapped to write a “Bad Boys 4” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter he would be writing the screenplay for “National Treasure 3.” “National Treasure,” released in 2004, starred Nicolas Cage an amateur cryptologist Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie pulled in $247 million worldwide for Disney, Variety reported. The cast, including Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Armando Riesc, returned for the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.' That film made $457 worldwide, Variety reported. The sequel ended with the characters looking at 'Page 47” of a secret book owned by the president of the United States, but no explanation was given. Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly producing the upcoming film, People reported. Jon Turtletaub directed the first two films. A Disney spokesman did not respond to the magazine’s request for comment.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer working members of the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II announced Saturday in a statement. The Queen said the Sussexes “will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.” The couple also will no longer formally represent the Queen, the statement said. 'Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family, the Queen wrote. “I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.” The couple will forgo state funding and repay millions of taxpayer dollars used to refurbish their official residence in Windsor, The New York Times reported. The agreement will go into effect later this spring and will be reviewed by the palace after a year, the newspaper reported. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” according to the statement from Buckingham Palace. The agreement was made to end the crisis that began 10 days ago when the couple announced plans to step back from their royal duties and spend time in North America, the Times reported.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.'s legal problems might be behind him. The Superdome officer who was slapped on the rear by the Cleveland Browns wide receiver after LSU’s championship victory Monday has decided not to press charges, NOLA.com reported. A video of the encounter has gone viral. The website, citing several anonymous sources, said the 48-year-old officer had signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue legal action against Beckham, 27, who is from New Orleans and played for LSU. The New Orleans Police Department had obtained a warrant for Beckham’s arrest on a count of simple battery, WAFB reported. New Orleans police could rescind the warrant or continue to pursue it, NOLA.com reported. According to the website, the officer had ordered LSU players to put out celebratory cigars lit in the locker room. While talking with one player, the lieutenant said he was struck in the rear by a man who was identified as Beckham. The Browns issued a statement Thursday and said Beckham’s representatives “are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation,” WAFB reported. Beckham has already come under scrutiny for reportedly throwing cash at players after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory against Clemson, potentially violating NCAA rules.
  • Professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a loving tribute to his father, who died Wednesday. Rocky Johnson, who wrestled for 27 years and broke barriers for black wrestlers, died at age 75. Dwayne Johnson posted a long tribute on Instagram, along with a video. “I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.” The elder Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, along with his former father-in-law -- and the Rock’s maternal grandfather -- Peter Maivia. Tony Atlas, who along with Rocky Johnson became the first black tag team champions in WWE history, also posted a tribute on Twitter. “We changed wrestling by paving a new path, knocking down doors while showing what movin’ n groovin’ is all about!” Atlas wrote.
  • Amazon said Saturday it will open another massive warehouse in metro Atlanta that will create 500 new jobs, part of an ongoing courtship of the e-commerce giant that spun out of Georgia’s attempt to land the company’s second headquarters.  The company said Saturday that the 1-million-square-foot facility — roughly the size of an average mall — will be built at the Cubes of Bridgeport site in Newnan. The facility’s employees will pack and ship customer orders for Amazon, the world’s largest retailer. Gov. Brian Kemp said Amazon’s announcement was a testament to Georgia’s “logistics infrastructure, top-ranked workforce and nationally recognized business climate.” The firm did not say when it expected the construction to be complete.  It’s the second major Amazon project for metro Atlanta in the past year. The company announced in July it would build a warehouse in Gwinnett County that would eventually employ 1,000 people, and construction is well underway.  The warehouse is part of a construction spree by Amazon to expand its shipping footprint. The company now operates more than 75 fulfillment centers in North America that employ more than 125,000 staffers, including 3,500 in Georgia.  State economic officials have grown familiar with the company after years of recruiting. Georgia offered billions in incentives and Atlanta made the short list for Amazon’s massive second headquarters before losing out to New York and Northern Virginia in November 2018. Documents released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that the state offered more than $2 billion worth of publicly funded incentives to lure the corporate campus, including an academy to train its employees and an exclusive lounge at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Also in 2018, Amazon picked Nashville, Tennessee, for a new operations office where it plans to hire 5,000 workers. The company later scuttled its New York plans, briefly raising speculation that the Big Apple’s loss could be Georgia’s gain. But economic development officials were also focused on enticing the company to bring smaller projects to Georgia. Amazon operates several other fulfillment centers and warehouses in metro Atlanta, including East Point and Lithia Springs, and in other parts of Georgia, including Macon.  The warehouse project will make Amazon one of Coweta County’s largest private employers, joining other major firms such as Yamaha Motors and PetSmart, which also has a distribution center that employs about 500 people.  It’s not immediately clear what incentives were offered to Amazon to lure the project. An AJC review showed that nearly $20 million in tax breaks and infrastructure improvements were required to secure the Gwinnett project.  The company also did not immediately say how much it will spend on the site. Trae Westmoreland, head of the Coweta County Development Authority, said the “significant capital investment” will strengthen the local economy and help other firms bring in new business.