This post is sponsored by RO*TEL.
As our longtime readers well know, we've got a soft spot in our hearts here for Ro*Tel; who can forget the ubiquitous dancing chiles and tomatoes on a canvas of queso during nearly every TV timeout on the Big Ten Network? Ah, but that devotion has made Ro*Tel synonymous with the Big Ten, and so when we found out that Ro*Tel is holding a sweepstakes with a grand prize of 52 weeks of groceries and a trip to any college football game of your choice (even bowl games, which, look out Little Caesar's Pizza Pizza Bowl Bowl!) and wanted our help getting the word out, well, how could we say no?
The name of the game here, the theme, the big todo, is "Man, That's A Good Player," devoted to a certain player that has exceeded expectations thus far. On Thursday, we lauded senior TE Allen Reisner, who went on to lead the team in receptions on Saturday and is now second in both receptions and receiving yards for the Hawkeyes this season.
But today is for defense, and when it comes to defensive players exceeding expectations, there's really no contest: this award must go to Mike Daniels. The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week has far exceeded even the lofty expectations that his "fifth starter" status put on his shoulders; on the season, Daniels (or "Diesel") leads the defensive line in the following categories this season (with nearest fellow DLer in parentheses):
- Tackles: 19 (Christian Ballard, 18)
- Tackles for loss: 7.5 (Karl Klug, 3.5)
- Sacks: 3.0 (Klug, Lebron Daniel, Dominic Alvis, tied at 1.0)
- Awesome celebrations
(There is no runner-up. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
So is Daniels Iowa's best defensive lineman this season? Hard to say. "Diesel" benefits greatly from Ballard's multi-position versatility, and if he'd gotten the preseason hype (and subsequent double-teams) that Adrian Clayborn has received, perhaps Clayborn would be the one with 7.5 tackles for loss at this point. Still, Daniels is a revelation at his position--to the point where we're starting to suspect that DT actually stands for Disruptive Terror--and he's even astonishing his teammates:
"A couple times," Hawkeye safety Tyler Sash said, "(linebacker) Tyler Nielsen would turn around and be like ‘Are you kidding me?’
"Four tackles for losses … that’s pretty unheard of for one defensive lineman in a game. Maybe Clayborn."
Clayborn, as you've probably already guessed, has never registered 4.0 TFLs in a single game as a Hawkeye; his best is 3.0 with a sack against Ohio State last year. And yes, Daniels' domination came against Ball State, but guess what? Good defensive linemen play against terrible offensive linemen all the time, and this type of performance is still rare.
Thus, instead of wasting time trying to rank Daniels' performance and/or season among his peers or whatever, we'll merely say "Man, that's a good player." Because man... Mike Daniels is pretty good, isn't he?
With that, we'd like to thank RO*TEL for this sponsorship and remind our readers that the Feed Your Game Face sweepstakes is still going on and worth your time.