|Joe McDaniel of Hanford High is expected to see more touches in the Bullpup offense. He's also aiming to land his first NCAA Division I scholarship while seeking back-to-back Central Section titles for Hanford (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).|
Don’t say the word “surprise” to big Hanford High running back Joe McDaniel to describe the Bullpups' title run, even though they went from a 5-16 mark in 2012 and ’13 to a shocking Central Section Division III title victory last season.
If you told the 5-foot-11, 211-pound incoming senior that his team was a big shock to the 559 world, he won’t agree with that sentiment.
“Not at all. We knew how much harder we worked and how bad we wanted it,” McDaniel said.
Now, the returning 1,000 yard rusher is looking to bring another section title back to 120 E. Grangeville Blvd., as he and the rest of the Bullpups are aiming to be faster and better than last year.
He said the Bullpups “get after it” during summer practices.
“Mondays and Wednesdays, we run for two hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we do our workouts every morning, then we touch the football at the end of practice and get after it,” McDaniel said.
Part of McDaniel’s regimen includes doing feet agility drills in the long jump sand pit with fellow teammate Juwuane Hughes, who holds nine NCAA Division I scholarship offers and was the Bullpups’ top ball hawk on defense during the D-III title run.
Hughes, though, isn’t the only Bullpup receiving collegiate interest from DI football coaches. So has McDaniel. He said Cal Poly, Colorado State, Iowa State, Fresno State and Nevada have visited him during the NCAA Spring Evaluation period that took place in April 2015 and concluded in May.
Unlike Hughes, McDaniel hasn’t been offered a scholarship yet. But he said he’s had good conversations with most of the college coaches who visited him on the Hanford High campus.
“They just tell me to have another good year and they’ll come back (for me) harder,” McDaniel said.
Once he laces up his cleats and straps on the football armor, McDaniel brings a physical dimension to the Bullpup offense. He’s the semi-truck who manhandles traffic as he pummels defenses with his shoulders and powerful legs.
Last season, McDaniel rushed for 1,714 yards and scored 22 touchdowns for the 12-1 Bullpups. He’s entering this season with 2,243 career rushing yards at the varsity level along with 27 touchdowns.
He said his motivation on the field is hunger – because he’s hungry to strive for football excellence, plus land at a prominent college football home after he surrenders his Bullpup uniform to the equipment manager by Dec. 2015.
“I get at it,” McDaniel said. “Plus I’m trying to leave from Hanford.”
Before his prep career turns its final chapter, McDaniel said last season’s D-III rampage has ignited his team’s confidence for another title.
“We feel even better this season. There’s more excitement,” McDaniel said. “There’s a lot more people who’s getting involved and we’re just loving the team.”