Garrett Daniel: New Player?

Gage Gonzalez

It was a Wednesday night in early July; the West Ottawa varsity football team had their 7 on 7 game against the Chix of Zeeland East. As players were lacing up their shoes, strapping up their gloves, and stretching  before running warm-up routes, there was one unfamiliar face that had arrived with his cleats.

   With a full face of hair, this new player  walked up and shook Coach Joe Diekevers hand. During their conversation, players had lined up to start running routes. When Coach Diekevers sent him over to throw players some footballs, there was some looks of confusion about who and where this man-child  was and came from. He was throwing perfect passes with a tight spiral almost every rep.

Who was this star, and where did he come from?

   In high school, he had played quarterback, linebacker, and in his senior year, made an unusual switch to center for West Ottawa. “OLB (outside linebacker) Garrett Daniel and MLB (middle linebacker) Desmond Morgan will spearhead a defense that faces an athletic straight-T offense” (Holland Sentinel, 2010). One of those names may sound familiar. With Desmond Morgan being a big part of the offense and defense, most people didn’t know that part of that team’s success had come from 5’10, 175lb Garrett Daniel at the center position during the 2010-11 season. There was one moment in his sophomore year that almost changed his high school football career forever.

“What hurt the most about breaking my vertebrae was not the on-field hit, but rather the doctor telling me I would never play again. My love for the game would not allow me to leave football behind and with the support of my family, friends and coaches I was able to play again,” said Daniel. Being told the severity of his injury wouldn’t stop him from playing football, and in his junior and senior year, he managed to become a key to the West Ottawa football team’s success. Daniel is looking to help players find that love and passion for playing football like he does.


“Friday nights are extremely special to me. You cannot beat playing in the game. Now that my time playing days are over, coaching is the next best thing. I wish I could go out and make the plays but teaching another how to play and then seeing them succeed is just as motivating and enjoyable.” This season is Coach Daniel’s first year coaching at WO. He coaches the outside linebackers and keeps the energy up at every practice and game.


“ Whatever he does, he does it to the best of his efforts and keep kids hype on and off the field. Sometimes I really wish we could just suit him up and bring him out on the field again because he’s a beast,” Senior Cornerback Nate Snyder said. Having someone who can pump up the players and motivate them is a real asset to any team, and Daniel is looking to help out the WO team as much as he can with his energy.