Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 260 pounds, Damion Daley is a dominant force for the Ridge View Blazers.
The senior defensive tackle leads the team with 39 tackles, seven tackles for loss and one interception return for a score. Daley is providing some much-needed leadership after the Blazers lost 11 seniors from last year’s team.
“As coaches, we challenge kids," said Ridge View head coach Perry Parks. "But, you know, he’s a guy that’s not afraid of being unpopular. Sometimes, you’ve got to be that guy that presses guys and tries to get in their face and make sure they’re doing right all the time, but he embraces that and he’s been a good leader for us.”
Daley embraces that role each and every day for the Blazers. Like a coach on the field, Daley takes time to guide underclassmen to the right spots in order to make plays.
"I've always had good advice and I knew how to help people," Daley said, "but being vocal is something that I just grew into this year because I knew I had to step up."
Parks says Daley has gotten a few offers from schools like Central Florida and Georgia State. Daley hopes to get an offer from a major school like his brother and USC offensive lineman Dennis Daley.
“He always told me, when you get to your senior year, you’re going to be better than I was when I was a senior," Daley recalled. "Playing wise, I didn’t really get advice, but recruitment wise, awards wise and all that and getting attention from all the colleges, he just told me to be patient.”
“He’s had interest this past week," Parks said. Vanderbilt, I spoke with their coaches. Syracuse, I spoke with those guys. Missouri, South Carolina just beat those guys. I talked to those so he’s close to popping a Power 5 and, as soon as he gets that one, man, I think that’ll be all she wrote so he’ll get a couple more of those Power 5s.”
As a seventh grader, Daley created running lanes and protected quarterbacks as an offensive lineman. Now, he terrorizes backfields on Friday nights. It's a role that he has enjoyed since being moved across the line of scrimmage.
"The defensive line gets recognized more than the offensive line," Daley said. "I can make a big play and go have fun. When I was on the offensive line, I would do something and not get any recognition."
Daley will hope to hear his name called even more as he and the Blazers host Union County on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
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