The best signing day story of them allFebruary 7th, 2011 at 6:58 pm by Leila Rahimi under Sports
Forget bulldog puppies.
Forget pulling a hat out of a bag out of a box out of a bag on national television.
Forget the 1980s antics of renting a hotel suite for National Signing Day.
Forget complaining about Signing Day, because this will make you remember what this day is all about.
The Reagan Raiders won one game in the last two years. This year the team beat Eastside Memorial to complete a 1-9 campaign. Their average margin of defeat was 30 points a game. But time after time, when quarterback JaQuarius Daniels got knocked down, without complaint or frustration, he clapped, got up, and went right back to the huddle. Regardless of the score, regardless of the drive or down.
As many times as he was knocked down, he also succeeded. Daniels finished his career with 4,064 yards and 31 touchdowns passing, and 3,290 yards and 29 touchdowns rushing.
But what coaches loved about Daniels more than his stats, was what was immeasurable.
Daniels was told by some to attend other schools than Reagan, where he would be more visibile to both basketball programs and football programs. He is a talented basketball player as well, and was active in AAU. But Daniels chose to go to Reagan, where his two middle-school-aged brothers will likely attend in the coming years.
“To see a young man go to and be committed to a program when they’re not winning and put up his best effort every week and put up the stats he put up sometimes is amazing,” Reagan football coach Paul Darby said. “But with the hard work that you put in, it pays off in the end.”
The Austin American Stateman reported while opposing AISD coaches were talking to recruiters, they also spoke highly of the level-headed and talented quarterback at Reagan.
What resulted was for the first time since Darby’s son Paul signed with the Naval Academy in 2003, a Reagan player signed with an FBS school. Big 12 to be exact. Daniels is headed to Iowa State.
And just when you think the story can’t get any better, here’s the first thing Daniels told us after signing his National Letter of Intent.
“It feels good because I’m the first person in my family to go to college,” Daniels said with a smile. “I’ve got a lot of responsibility going up there to represent me, my school, my city and my family. So it’s pretty exciting.”
Daniels’s mother LaDonna Cummings says her oldest son, who grew up without his father, is a role model for her family.
“As he’s grown, his attitude has grown with him,” Cummings said. “I’m so proud of him. He knows how to carry himself. He knows how to deal with a lot from just growing, and just learning. I’m just so proud of him for not giving up on his school, not giving up on his team, and I’m just really proud of him.”
It’s understood to sign the athlete from the famous high school program who has never lost a game. It’s expected to go to an athlete’s home and talk to his parents about going to a great school with a great football team.
But maybe, just maybe, thanks to a kid who inspires us all to try a little harder when the situation may not be nearly as difficult, the greater victory is signing an athlete with a tremendous sense of perseverance.
That said, I’ll steal a quote from one of my favorite examples of perseverance, a man named Charles Schulz.
And that’s what National Signing Day is all about, Charlie Brown.