B.J. Daniels returns to Lincoln as head coach of Trojans
B.J. Daniels has had a storied football career that has taken him from playing on the youth level to college and the pros at multiple levels.
Daniels had spent four year – from 2004 to 2008 – playing quarterback at Lincoln High School.
He was still looking at another season of playing professional ball. Then, he got the call from Lincoln’s athletic director Joe Vallese to take the helm of its football program.
Suddenly, he started having flashback to the many people who have helped him get to the pinnacle of pro football. As big as the job of being head coach is, Daniels said it’s an opportunity to continue giving back like has been doing over the years.
“Someone gave to me,” Daniel said. “Multiple people gave to me and sewed the seed in me early on. I’m pretty sure they had no idea that this young kid would end up going to USF.”
Daniels replaces Quinn Gray, who left Tallahassee to become quarterbacks coach at Alcorn State. Daniels beat out a field that included as many as 48 applicants for the chance to return to his alma mater.
The magnitude of the hire didn’t him until a few days after the deal was done, though.
“I started to realize how big a deal it was and how much it meant that someone that’s from Tallahassee, that attended Lincoln High School and someone who is still heavily involved in the community could have a impact with the youth at my alma mater,” he said. “I’m just thankful because the support has been streaming in.”
Daniels played four seasons at the University of South Florida after he left Lincoln. He threw for 8,433 career passing yards at USF, including 52 for touchdowns.
He started his professional career in 2013 when he was drafted by San Francisco. That same year he was taken by Seattle off waivers and eventually made two Super Bowl appearances with the Seahawks that included a win in the 2014 Super Bowl.
His players will hear about the path he has taken on the back of football, with the idea being to motivate, Daniels said.
“I’m not here to make sure the next kid wins the Super Bowl,” he said. “I’m here to really motive and give kids life skills and goals; show them the experiences I’ve had to help them in life. That’s the most important thing.”
Daniel, who had a brief stint in the Canadian Football League, also made stops in the AAF and XFL. During the last two years, he spent fall working with players at Leon High School.
Daniels, 30, was still putting his staff together as of last week. However, Steven Thrope posted on social media that he will be the receivers coach. Mark Wilson used the same platform to disclose that he is the linebackers coach.
Daniels is expected to have his staff in place by June 15 when the team will begin summer workouts. Social distancing will be in full effect, Daniels said, as they’ll work with players in groups of 20.
Invariably it won’t be long before Daniels is asked when his team will win a state title. He already has a straightforward response.
“Whenever we put it all together,” he said. “I can’t say when that’s going to happen but I just know that with the staff I’m putting together we’re going to give them everything we possibly can to get them on the track. We just feel that if we keep our heads down, focus on the little things and work hard eventually, whether it’s this season or next year, we will be in the position that we want to be at the end of the year.”