Back in early March, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman trashed his defensive lineman, questioning the body types that he had available and wondering whether he had any real players at the position.
“The effort, as a group, has not been to our... requirements here in this program,” he said. “The body types, again I think we’d know a lot more if some of these fat guys lost some weight. What does their body look like? Right now I don’t know. The last time I checked, you’ve gotta play with a defensive line.”
Redshirt freshman Chris Daniels was clearly one of Herman’s targets at that time and took the public remonstration to heart, working hard to get himself in shape.
On Wednesday evening, that culminated in Daniels posting several pictures showing off his 35-pound weight loss:
It’s an impressive transformation, as the lead art indicates, and now Daniels is likely back around 300 pounds, approximately the same weight that he played at in his breakout junior season of high school.
There aren’t many defensive tackles around college football with such a low body-fat percentage, which could indicate that Herman and defensive line coach Oscar Giles would like Daniels to play one of the defensive end positions in defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s odd front.
That’s the same position currently occupied by junior Chris Nelson, who is sliding a bit further outside after playing nose tackles last season, a position now occupied by senior Poona Ford.
With the ‘Horns still in need of impact defensive lineman following the post-spring departures from the program of sophomore Jordan Elliott and redshirt freshman Marcel Elliott, Daniels working his way into a high level of conditioning is an important development for Texas.
Daniels was a consensus four-star prospect in the 2016 recruiting class, ranking as the No. 190 player nationally, the No. 21 defensive tackle, and the No. 28 player in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking.
Now he has a chance to fulfill that the significant potential suggested by those rankings.