The Foundation Academy senior will bring his game to the Army football team at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
| 3:22 p.m. December 20, 2019
With one call, Dharius “Seth” Daniels’ life changed forever.
Back in August, as his first — and only — year of football at Foundation Academy was ramping up, the senior standout took an hourlong phone call with a football recruiter at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
By the end of that phone call, Daniels was offered something many people dream to have — a chance at playing Division I football at one of the country’s most historic programs.
“After that, it was like, ‘This is the greatest opportunity of my life, and I got it off of playing a sport,’” Daniels said. “It really gives me love for the game of football — something as simple as a sport can change the rest of your life.”
He took his time before announcing his commitment, but on Thursday, Dec. 12, Daniels revealed on Twitter that he was officially committing to play for the Black Knights — thanking his family, coaches and teammates for their support.
The tweet also signaled something Daniels has been looking forward to for a few years: the end of the recruiting process.
“It’s definitely a great feeling,” Daniels said. “The whole recruiting process is definitely a blessing, but it is also kind of stressful trying to figure out where you want to go, who is going to offer you and where you’re going to fit in the best. It’s a burden off my back, and I’m just excited to sign and get to (play) college football.”
Daniels — who played both on offense and defense at the wide receiver and defensive back positions for the Lions — will play cornerback for Army, although he will start on the school’s prep team before joining varsity.
Although some would not have liked the idea of not playing the first year with the varsity team, Daniels knows the opportunity with Army is special. He had taken multiple visits to different schools — including Ivy League schools such as Princeton — but that trip to West Point was different, Daniels said.
“Because it’s West Point, and because it’s military — I didn’t know what to expect,” Daniels said. “I come in and see thousands of people tailgating. I went to the Army/UMass game — they beat them by like, 70 — and it wasn’t a big game, and the stadium was three-fourths full.
“It’s just crazy, the support there and the love,” he said. “I’ve played at Windermere Prep and Foundation, so I’ve played in some big games, but Minchie Stadium seats, like, 38,000.”
A LATE START
Unlike many players, Daniels didn’t play youth football — he was a basketball player by trade.
It wasn’t until ninth grade that the New Jersey native picked up a football and began to move away from basketball and lacrosse. The reason? His parents were nervous about football — and for good reason.
“My parents didn’t want me to play because my cousin had broke his neck and became paralyzed from football,” Daniels said. “I ended up playing ninth-grade year just for fun and to meet people. I think it was my second game I got four interceptions, and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is kind of fun — I like tackling people.’”
Daniels and his family moved to Florida halfway through his freshman year, and for his sophomore and junior years, he played on the team at Windermere Prep.
Despite hitting a bit of a sophomore slump, Daniels rebounded in his junior season with a year that grabbed the attention of several schools. It also was then when he realized football could help get him to college.
The budding star ramped up his play even more after transferring to Foundation. In his only year for the Lions, Daniels racked up more than 1,100 all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns on offense. On defense, he grabbed an interception, one forced fumble and 20 total tackles.
Those kinds of numbers — along with all of that hard work and progression over the last four years — led Daniels to a place where he can really shine at Army. It’s a big opportunity in many ways for Daniels, and it has perks — such as playing in the Army/Navy game.
“That’s something that I’ve been thinking about since Army reached out to me,” Daniels said. “That’s one of the most historic, classic rivalries in college football. Just the opportunity to be able to participate in that — it’s just going to give me chills.”