T'Rod Daniels preparing for expanded role in second Southern Miss season
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Golden Eagle legend Ito Smith has bid farewell after four glorious seasons in the Black and Gold, but a new speedster is ready to push for the starting running back job in his second year at Southern Miss: senior T'Rod Daniels.
Daniels, who was one of six on the 2017 roster to have played at Bassfield High School, last year had 21 carries for 160 yards, flashing his potential early with a 49-yard touchdown run against Southern. His final attempt of the season was a 53-yard scoring gallop to close out a 66-21 dismantling of Charlotte in the home finale.
"The coaches really take care of you," he said of his move to Hattiesburg following a two-year stint at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC. "The game is a lot faster. You can't get left behind or you won't play. You need to know more than you need to know, and know what everyone else is doing on the field to make you a better player."
Daniels laughs at his memories of playing with his old Bassfield friends, which this year includes Rashaud Green and Racheem Boothe. Last year's squad also had Cornell Armstrong, Curtis Mikell and Jomez Applewhite.
"It was always a competition," he said. "I always used to play them on scout and they used to hate me. But we were boys after that. We're cool and Bassfield is small so we always link up. They're family and I love them."
This spring, Daniels says things have gone well. His current backfield competition features the likes of returners Tez Parks, George Payne and Darius Maberry.
"It's pretty good, just getting after it," Daniels said. "We got a new position coach [Les Koenning] and I like him. We are just leaning from the front. It's our second day in pads, and I love it because I'm a dog. Everyone's going hard, from the defensive backs to the offense."
Southern Miss is home for the first two weeks of the 2018 season when it hosts Jackson State (Sept. 1) and ULM (Sept. 8). Season tickets are available by visiting SouthernMissTickets.com, calling 1-800-844-TICK, or stopping by the Pat Ferlise Center during normal business hours.