By Rubin E. Grant
As a little kid, C.D. Daniels used to watch football on television.
His favorite player was college and professional football running back Reggie Bush.
“I wanted to be like Reggie Bush,” Daniels said.
Well, Daniels, who goes by C.D. instead of his given name, CarDamien, didn’t become a flashy, all-purpose ball carrier like Bush. Instead, he found his niche on the other side of the ball as a defensive back – and a good one at that.
During the 2017 season, Homewood’s 6-foot-3-inch, 180-pound senior cornerback intercepted five passes, recorded 32 tackles, forced a fumble and blocked three kicks as the Patriots finished 10-2 and reached the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
For his accomplishments, Daniels is the Over the Mountain Journal’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s the best athlete in the school,” Homewood coach Ben Berguson said. “He’s so long and rangy. That’s why he covers the field so well and what I think will make him special at the next level.
“People avoided throwing to his side of the field during the season. That’s why he didn’t have the stats he had his first two years on the varsity.”
Daniels finished his high school career with 15 interceptions, two short of the school record.
“I didn’t break the interception record, but I think I had an exciting high school career,” Daniels said.
The Patriots won their first nine games, but they lost their final regular season game 13-7 at Paul Bryant in Tuscaloosa. Homewood bounced back to beat Fort Payne 28-21 in the first round of the state playoffs but was eliminated in the second round by Clay-Chalkville in a 30-0 game.
“The end of the season was disappointing, but it was a lot of fun,” Daniels said. “I had a lot of good moments and it was so good playing with my teammates.”
In Search of His Place
Before the season, Daniels committed to Memphis, but he since has changed his mind because the school’s defensive backs’ coach, Marcus Woodson, left to take a job at Auburn.
“It was real tough to de-commit because I felt it was the best place for me,” Daniels said. “Right now, I’m weighing my options. I’m considering Auburn and Arkansas State.
“It’s going to be kind of hard to make a decision. I probably won’t decide until signing day.”