Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

Michael Daniels wins CoSIDA award


A tough choice loomed for former Vikings’ football linebacker Michael Daniels at the beginning of this year as he had to choose whether he wanted more game time or to continue being a linebacker. Daniels chose to become a defensive end and earn more game time, earning a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)  Academic All-America first football team.
Daniels was announced to the team at the end of Nov.
Making the move from linebacker to defensive end was tough for Daniels as he said he had to change his lifting patterns to fit the spot.
Daniels wasn’t expecting to win the award.
“I was pretty surprised to find out I won it at first,” Daniels said. “It’s been a pretty big goal of mine since I came in as a freshman, so to earn it my senior year felt really good.”
Daniels has a 3.99 grade point average with majors in accounting and business administration with a concentration in finance. He’s also a Presidential Scholar, Aristea Honor Society member and a dean’s list honoree for every term at Augustana.
Trying to maintain a high GPA along with football has been a difficult but manageable task Daniels said. But he also had to balance another subject: music.
Daniels has played saxophone previous to and throughout his college career. He was in the jazz band his freshman and sophomore year and was in jazz combo his junior year and continuing it into senior year.
Having and balancing all these subjects in Daniels’ life isn’t new to him as he had practice doing it in high school.
“My dad was a really big sports guy and my mom was a music teacher, so I’ve had those two aspects of my life together since day one,” Daniels said. “I did the same thing in high school: I was in two sports, band and choir and I was taking my academics pretty seriously. That continued into college for me and I didn’t want to give up any of those things.”
While deciding to focus on football and leave baseball behind was a tough decision, it allowed him to become stronger in his football play, especially in his new position this year.
As defensive end, he led the Vikings defensive lineman in total tackles, assisted tackles, solos stops, tackles for loss and sacks.
Head coach Steve Bell said while Daniels wasn’t the biggest lineman, he still held his own with his strength and experience as a linebacker, overall performing well in the position.
“It was a tough situation for Mike this year,” Bell said. “But he jumped into that role [as a lineman] and played it very effectively. There were times that he was overmatched physically, size-wise. But, he competes his tail off and was able to be exceptionally productive at that position.”
After winning the award, Daniels wanted to thank Associate Director of Athletics and Media & Alumni Relations Dave Wrath.
“I’m pretty confident that without his help, I wouldn’t have gotten the award,” Daniels said.

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Michael Daniels wins CoSIDA award