Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Mississippi CB finds bond with Carter
Arkansas assistant coach Sam Carter speaks with media members on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Fayetteville.
Former Ole Miss commitment MJ Daniels said he feels like he's talking to a brother when communicating with University of Arkansas cornerbacks coach Sam Carter.
"We talk about everyday," Daniels said. "We talk in the morning and before I go to sleep. He's kind of like my big brother. We're pretty cool."
Daniels, 6-3, 188 pounds, Lucedale (Miss.) George County pledged to the Rebels in November and reopened his recruitment on June 1, saying he made his decision too early but is still considering Ole Miss.
He said his first conversation with Carter set the tone for their relationship
"He was just straight up with me," said Daniels, who's being recruited to play cornerback. "He just shot everything straight up with me. He wasn't sugarcoating anything. He was real with me and he talked about me not just about football like most coaches do."
Daniels also talks to Coach Sam Pittman.
"They just tell me they really want me, and I'm needed there, and I have a great chance to come there and starting," Daniels said.
He appreciates Carter talking about other things other than football.
"He calls and asks me how my day is going and asks me how I grew up and asks me about my family," Daniels said. "My dad and my mom and wanting to know their background."
As a junior, Daniels did it all for his team. He recorded 151 rushing yards on 44 carries, had 16 receptions for 298 yards, 4 touchdowns and completed 41 of 94 passes for 626 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Defensively, he had 23 tackles, a tackle for loss, 3 pass breakups and 4 interceptions.
National recruiting analysts Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network rates Daniels a 3-star plus prospect.
"MJ is the fastest rising defensive prospect in Mississippi," Lemming said. "He has great length. He's known for his hard-hitting style of play."
Daniels announced a top six of Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas A&M, Indiana and Minnesota on July 14. The Hogs offered him two days later and appear to be in the running.
"Arkansas will be in my next list of top schools that I come out with," Daniels said.
He said he's considering going out of state for college.
"Arkansas could be a great place for me to go play ball," he said.
Being a plus-size cornerback has it's advantages.
"I have great hips, so I can get out there and play it," Daniels said. "I love going against receivers my size, and I like it even more when I go up against little guys because it's hard to throw over me."
A lover of the outdoors, Daniels wants his profession after football to be nature related.
"I want to be a federal game warden," Daniels said. "I don't want to be stuck in an office job. I like being in the outdoors doing a lot of riding around figuring out where all the fishing and hunting spots are."
Daniels knows the state of Arkansas is outdoors friendly.
"They do a lot of hog hunting up there and kill a lot of deer," he said. "When I was young, I use to watch a lot of YouTube videos about it."
He gave a rundown on how a school can win him over.
"They just have to show me they really want me," he said. "I really want to go somewhere and change a program and have an impact on that school and forever be remembered as a player."
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