After seeing Tashard Choice head west to join Lincoln Riley’s staff at USC, Georgia Tech has found its next running backs coach in the form of Buffalo running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Daniels.
Daniels got his start in coaching after graduating from Cincinnati following the 2007 season. He headed over to Alcorn State to coach the tight ends from December 2007 to June 2008.
From there, he headed back to Cincinnati to serve as a graduate assistant/wide receivers coach before ending up at Buffalo in 2010 (for his first stint). He served as the running backs coach and academic liaison.
After that, he dropped all the way down to the high school level and worked as the running backs coach for Statesboro High School in Georgia from 2011 to 2013, and during that time, they were very successful, going 28-6 across the three seasons and making it into the playoffs in each season.
From 2014 to 2016, Daniels served as the receivers coach at Kennesaw State. I was particularly impressed with this little snippet from his bio on Buffalo’s website:
Under Daniels’ guidance, redshirt freshman Justin Sumpter flourished as Kennesaw State’s primary aerial target. He caught 26 passes for 525 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 20.2 yards a receptions to rank sixth in the country in yards per receptions. Sumpter had three catches of 46 or more yards, including a 69-yard TD receptions in the inaugural game at East Tennessee State.
In 2017, Daniels once again dropped to the high school level, but this time, it was to serve as the head coach at his alma mater: Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Under his tutelage, the school made it to the playoffs in 2019 for the first time since 2007.
Looking a bit deeper at his time as a running backs coach, let’s go back to 2010 and see how the running backs did.
The team went 2-10 in Jeff Quinn’s first season as the head coach (following Turner Gill). In his first stint, Daniels used a running back by committee method, which saw five players get more than 60 carries across the season, though none gained more than 300 yards.
High school stats are notably harder to come by, especially from 10 years ago, so I don’t have any numbers from his Statesboro High School days, so we’ll head back to modern day Buffalo!
The team as a whole is in a much better place in 2021, moving from the Lance Leipold era into the Maurice Linguist era. Specifically, the running backs were a lot better.
This season saw the emergence of Dylan McDuffie at running back, and he had a tremendous season, finishing with 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns across 207 carries. They also had two more running backs go for at least 400 yards and a combined eight touchdowns.
Football Scoop thinks very highly of Daniels, naming him to their 2020-21 Minority Coaches Watch List:
Mike Daniels, Princeton High School (Cincinnati) & 2020 NFL Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship. Former UC Bearcats standout who already owns college experience at UC, Kennesaw State and Buffalo; has developed multiple high school All-Americans in the prep ranks.
On the surface, this looks like a pretty solid hire, but like with Tillman, I think it’s tough to say because he is relatively inexperienced, not spending more than a season as a running backs coach at the collegiate level. Seeing what he was able to do this season, I am certainly hopeful for this hire, though.
How are you feeling about Tech’s newest hire?