DaVaris Daniels quietly ends his ND chapter, enters NFL Draft
Quietly, with zero fanfare, wide receiver DaVaris Daniels marked the end to an up-and-down Notre Dame football career.
The now-former Irish receiver has jumped into the NFL Draft Pool as an early entry, one of 74 underclassmen who will be eligible for this 2015 draft, April 30-May 2 in Chicago, near Daniels’ hometown of Vernon Hills, Ill.
The 6-foot-2, 203-pounder and his family made no formal announcement of the move until after the news broke. Instead, he showed up on Monday’s final list of players granted special eligibility for the draft, released by the NFL three days after the deadline for underclassmen to declare.
Later Monday, Daniels from his Twitter account, tweeted, "There are no wrong turnings (sic). Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk."
Daniels' father, Phillip, also chimed in on Twitter: "My son DaVaris Daniels @SincerelyToot has entered the 2015 NFL draft. He has been training hard the past 2 months to prepare himself."
Ten other players with remaining college eligibility but degrees in hand, including Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon, put the early-entry number at 84.
“As far as talent, I think you can make an argument he’s got early-round talent,” draft analyst Scott Wright of draftcountdown.com said, “but the question marks are going to push him down into day three Rounds 4-7).”
Daniels was one of five Irish football players suspended during the 2014 season as a result of ND’s internal academic dishonesty investigation. Of the five, only backup safety Eilar Hardy returned to the field during the season.
Cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive end Ishaq Williams are expected to return to school and the team in June, the only two of the five expected to suit up for the Irish in 2015.
Daniels was also dismissed from school for the spring semester of 2014 for academic shortcomings following his junior season.
Daniels had 49 catches for 745 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, his last season of action for the Irish. He redshirted as a freshman in 2011, then had 31 receptions for 490 yards as a part-time starter during ND’s run to the BCS National Championship Game in 2012.
Except in small stretches, Daniels’ potential has always obscured his production at ND.
“He’s going to be a tough evaluation,” Wright said. “He’s certainly got the physical talent to play at the next level. He’s got the size. He’s shown he can be a threat down the field and in the red zone.
“But the off-the-field concerns with him and the one-year layoff make him even more of an unknown. This is going to be another strong crop of wide receivers,not only at the top, but there’s pretty good depth too.
“That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up in the late-round mix. The pre-draft process is going to be important to him. He’s going to have to convince a team — whether through interviews, workouts or both — why they should invest in him.”
Notre Dame (8-5) returns its entire wide receiver corps from the 2014 season, led by sophomore Will Fuller (76 receptions for 1,094 yards and 15 TDs), and will add at least three receivers in its 2015 recruiting class.
Verbally committed to ND and expected to sign national letters-of-intent on Feb. 4 are Miles Boykin, Jalen Guyton and C.J. Sanders. Uncomitted Equanimeous St. Brown is thought to be leaning toward signing with ND as well.