A popular series from last draft cycle is returning yet again at Stampede Blue. Last off-season, I interviewed over 40 prospects that could eventually be fits for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2019 NFL Draft. As a result, we were able to find out a lot about two Colts who went on to eventually be drafted by the team in Marvell Tell III and Khari Willis. This year I hope to interview even more prospects so you all can get an inside look at these player’s accomplishments and mindsets going into this next draft.
Our next prospect is running back/full back Mikey Daniel from South Dakota State. Daniel is one of the top fullback prospects in the nation and even has some ability as a utility guy carrying and catching the ball. We had a great talk about his decision to move to fullback, his career at SDSU, and what he’ll bring to an NFL team.
6’0” 235 pounds
- MSVC Commisioner’s Academic Excellence Award (2017)
- MSVC Honor Roll (2017)
113 carries for 535 yards and 7 touchdowns
Fit with the Colts:
While the Colts don’t currently have a fullback on the roster, they could potentially use one going forward. With the team’s run first approach in 2019 and the success of full backs in the NFL last year on a few of the league’s top teams, the Colts may be in the market for a low cost one in the draft. Daniel has ability as a fullback but can also be a utility guy who can run the ball and catch passes out of the backfield as well.
Late Day 3-PUDFA
ZH: Let’s start off the field first. You have excelled in the classroom at SDSU. Were your academics very important to you in college?
MD: In college they definitely were just because I knew that the future was unknown and it is still a bit unknown in the position I’m at but the one thing I know is that nobody can ever take my degree or my education away from me.
ZH: Looking back on your career, how would you sum up your college career at SDSU?
MD: The big thing I learned is.. well as I get ready for my next step, it’s kind of like my time at SDSU. I was set on playing running back and we always rotated so many and I was never really a star guy. I had to find other ways to get onto the field whether it’s special team or blocking or whatever the case may be. So that kind of helps set me up for success going to the next level here because I need that mindset going to the NFL. I didn’t know it along the way but it ultimately has helped me.
ZH: What was the best lesson that a coach ever taught you in your playing career?
MD: This may sound harsh but the best lesson I learned as a player is that they don’t need you. At the end of the day it’s a business and the world will still go on whether you are playing football or not. Taking that mentality of this game doesn’t need me and that nothing is owed to me. I think that mindset makes you a lot better off. (I asked him if that helped him play differently on the playing field)
You know it mostly showed me that at any given day, it can be taken away from you. Going into every game or every season thinking this may be the last time I do this, really helps you appreciate what you have.
ZH: Getting to on the field, I’ve seen you listed as a fullback all offseason but you piled up quite a lot of rushing yards and touchdowns at SDSU. Did you play primarily fullback there or is that more of an NFL projection?
MD: Yessir I was definitely a running back in my four years there. I did mostly short yardage, goal line, third down protection... I’ve always been a really good blocker so making the transition to put my hand in the dirt when I went down to the CGS in Dallas, that was different because I hadn’t ever put my hand in the dirt and ran iso blocks before. The way I ran though was always physical so I just imagined I’m running the ball and used my hands a lot more than I did as a running back and that has worked out for me. The transition has been smooth though as I’ve always been a physical guy so making that transition hasn’t been too hard for me.
ZH: Was the decision to move to fullback from what scouts were telling you or was that decision your call?
MD: It was definitely my decision. It was hard to do though because I’m used to scoring the ball and running the ball so I had to drop the ego and think about making the block so others can score now. That was the hardest part, understanding and buying into that concept. I definitely knew that there was more opportunity for me to make it into the next level as a fullback because my running back experience gives me good background and skill set to do what a running back can do in that full back role.
ZH: A big part of playing in the NFL is special teams. How open would you be to contributing on special teams right away?
MD: Not only open to that, I’m chomping at the bit to do it. I played on every single special teams unit in my team at SDSU, the core four, and I’ve shown that I can do well on each of those teams. I’ve shown that I can tackle, that I can block, and that I can do all the things needed on special teams. I know that is the key for me to get to the next level. A lot of guys know that they have to do it but there is a big difference between having to do it and wanting to do it. I want to do it because that is a key in for a lot of guys, especially fullbacks.
ZH: What is my team getting if they spend a draft pick on Mikey Daniel?
MD: You are getting a guy who will do whatever it takes to help the team win. If you need me to put my hand in the dirt and block a defensive end or go kick out a linebacker, I’m there. If you need a guy to make a special teams tackle, I’m there. If you need a guy to pick up a blitz, I’m there. If you need a short yardage or goal line carry, I’m there. Anything you need me to do, I’m going to do it no questions asked. That is not just for show, that is truly what I want to do. I see myself a lot like Kyle Juszczyk from the 49ers. That is a guy who I study a lot of his film. I’m gonna test very similar to him at my Pro Day and everything that he does, I know I can do it too. Anything the team needs me to do, I’m going to do.