The Roundup’s end of spring rundown kicks off with a look at players from the one and true king, Southwest Conference, who are primed to pop this fall on a field near you. We call them Playmakers*, we hope by next December they’ll be household names. *This series has no affiliation with the dumpster fire ESPN series from the early 2000s.
You might’ve heard of Bryan London, the Texas State tackling machine. The Universal City Randolph product already rewrote the Texas State record books, setting new marks for total and solo tackles. With another year, he could move into the upper echelon of the NCAA record book.
Bryan London is good. Last year he got help in the form of our subject for this article, Nikolas Daniels. Daniels, a rising senior from League City Clear Creek, erupted with 108 tackles, eclipsing his previous high by 73. He finished second on the Bobcat defense in tackles for loss, registered five quarterback hurries, four pass breakups, and notched a sack and a forced fumble. Not bad for a guy who, before 2018, made one start in his career.
The Bobcat staff remedied that by keeping Daniels on the field as much as possible last year. The results rose as the season wore one. Daniels had double-digit tackles in four games including a sixteen tackle performance against Troy in November.
At six feet, 235 pounds, Daniels is an instinctual player who maneuvers well in the chaos that is life between the tackles. Like London, he’s a ball magnet and grew into an every down player in 2018.
In spite of the frustrations of the last three years, Texas State may well have built one of the better defenses in the Sun Belt, and it starts with a group of experienced, physical linebackers. The Bobcats will list as many as seven senior linebackers on the two-deep. Along with Daniels and London, the ‘Cats bring back productive players like Frankie Griffin, Clifton Lewis, Hal Vinson, Gavin Graham, and Kumonde Hines.
With new defensive coordinator Zac Spavital’s emphasis on multiplicity and flexibility, your ability to play different schemes and techniques will dictate whether you get on the field. Bet on Daniels seeing plenty of action and building on his explosive 2018.