Brandon Daniel of Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely had a tall order to fill this season. Daniel was a vital part of a state championship team his junior season, but when he returned for his senior year, he was surrounded by a group of fresh faces as he was the only returning starter on the defensive side of the football for Ely. In addition, Ely moved up one classification to 6A.
But Daniel did not fret and was undoubtedly the leader of the young Ely defense. On the season Daniel had over 70 tackles and 10.5 sacks leading his team to a 9-1 record and a berth in the 6A state playoffs.
"Brandon is aggressive, relentless and a very intelligent young man," Ely assistant coach Bob Braunstein said.
Daniel is deep into the recruiting process and if all works out, could be done with official visits by Christmas. He has already taken three official visits and has two more coming. He is definitely going to Kansas State for the Dec. 19-20 weekend and would like to squeeze Florida in for a visit this weekend.
"I am not sure if it is going to be this weekend or the weekend of Jan. 9th," Daniel said. "I am trying to do it earlier, so my family may just drive up this weekend on short notice. If not we are going in January."
Aside from his Florida and Kansas State visits, Daniel has already officially visited Virginia Tech (Sept. 27), Pittsburgh (Nov. 28) and N.C. State (Dec. 5), with two of those schools receiving equal consideration as the best of the visits.
"I liked pretty much Virginia Tech and N.C. State the same right now," Daniel said. "With Virginia Tech it was the coaches and the players. With N.C. State it was the facilities and the campus."
Daniel by no means did not enjoy his visit to Pittsburgh, it is just that Mother Nature was not kind on his trip.
"Pittsburgh has the best opportunity out of all these programs to play right away," Daniel said. "They have a real good opportunity and a great campus but the reason I rate Virginia Tech and N.C. State higher, is because the weather in Pittsburgh is harder to deal with."
Daniel has about 20 offers and that is just a number he threw out there. It seems the actual number of offers is too high to remember and Braunstein tends to agree.
"Every team in the U.S. is after him - they all want him to visit their school," Braunstein said.
But Daniel had to choose five schools to visit and assessed why Florida and Kansas State are rounding out his official visits.
"I have been talking to Florida for a long time and I pretty much knew I was going to take it all along but I wanted to weigh other options, but then I finally set the visit," Daniel said. "Kansas State always play a great defense. The last five years they have had great defensive teams and the need for defensive ends right now will give me a good opportunity."
After he is done with his visits, Daniel is going to evaluate each school's situation and go through his agenda of deciding factors to choose the right school for him.
"My best opportunity to play," Daniel said when asked about the factors that will make up his decision. "A school I feel real comfortable at because I am going to live there for four years - a school that meets my needs."
But don't get any ideas that you will hear a decision from Daniel after he is done with his visits. He will make a decision but keep it under wraps until February.
"I will announce on Signing Day," Daniel said.
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