By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - B.J. Daniels got accustomed to running past defenders during his USF career. Now he's doing the same on the road to recovery.
Daniels' playing career at USF ended during a 13-6 win over UConn on Nov. 3 and the Bulls' career leader in rushing touchdowns talked with reporters for the first time since he broke a bone in his leg this week.
"I'm taking it all in and trying to adjust going to the kitchen. Everything is fine," Daniels said. "I just have to make sure I stay involved with the team and do the things I set out to do as far as being a good person and a good leader."
It won't take much for teammates to listen to Daniels after all he's accomplished as a Bull. He became only the eighth FBS player from a Florida school to amass more than 10,000 yards of total offense and he finished third in Big East history with 10,501 yards. He ranks fourth all-time at USF with 2,068 rushing yards, third in passing attempts (1,132) and passing yards (4,333), and tied for second in passing touchdowns (52).
"Big wins, records and things like that are all cool, but it all ends real soon and real quick," Daniels said. "The relationships I've built with some of these coaches and players are something I'll be able to hold onto for the rest of my life."
Daniels made it very clear that his work at USF isn't finished. A new quarterback will take over Saturday against Miami and the Bulls still have three more games left in the push to make a bowl game. Daniels plans to be with the team as much as he can during the stretch run and will continue his main goal as a Bull - remain a positive influence for anyone.
"There are a lot of different things people wish they could be doing as far as collegiate football and I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to do it," he said. "Any way I can help out and motivate, even at a time like this, I will. There is some little kid out there watching and when I was a kid I always watched the older guys. They had a bigger impact on me more than they would ever realize."
Daniels eventually will be back to being 100 percent healthy. When that happens, he'll be working toward being a positive influence as an NFL player, a dream he's had since growing up in Tallahassee.
"I'm trying to make sure I'm in line to go train and do all the right things mentally and physically to try to get ready for the next level. That's my goal and that's what I want to do," Daniels said.
Daniels has other options as well and plans to use his college degree in the working world if his career as a pro player doesn't work out.
"The NFL is my dream, but if it doesn't happen I have my degree in criminology. I've already set up appointments with FBI agents and things like that," he said.
Daniels' Favorite Win
Daniels posted 21 wins as USF's starting quarterback and his favorite memory is the one that started it all.
The Lincoln High School product grew up watching FSU front and center during his early years, but wasn't signed by the Seminoles. His first start as a Bull came during his redshirt freshman season in Tallahassee when Daniels ran for 126 yards, threw two TD passes and totaled 341 of USF's 368 yards of offense in a 17-7 win over Bobby Bowden's crew.
"I probably still can't say that I've topped the feeling of winning in Tallahassee," Daniels said.
"He killed us,'" Bowden said after the game. ''Boy, they've got a great one there.''
Daniels wasn't hard to find on the field at USF and wound up starting 42 of the 47 games he played in since 2008. He missed a handful of games because of injuries, but always was quick to get back on the field. Now he's getting used to a role that's very new to the Bulls' most vocal leader on the team.
"In the two or three games in years past, it was difficult to sit on the sideline and watch, but to know that it ended the way it did for me physically was somewhat of a disappointment," he said. "I'm just trying to stay positive, keep things in a bigger spectrum and make sure I do what I can to get back healthy."