High School Football

Mr. Football candidate Daniel making impact all over the field for Scott County

Scott County's Scott Daniel ran for 66 yards before being caught by Lafayette's Kylan Nelson on Aug. 23. The run set up the Cardinals' first score. Daniel, who also returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown in that game, is one of four finalists for Mr. Football.
Scott County's Scott Daniel ran for 66 yards before being caught by Lafayette's Kylan Nelson on Aug. 23. The run set up the Cardinals' first score. Daniel, who also returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown in that game, is one of four finalists for Mr. Football. Lexington Herald-Leader

GEORGETOWN — If Scott Daniel wore a straightjacket instead of a jersey he might not be the most efficient and explosive playmaker in Kentucky high school football.

Then again, the Scott County senior probably would still find a way to get his hands on the ball and do something dazzling with it.

"He's amazing," Cardinals Coach Jim McKee said.

So are Daniel's statistics.

In his three years as a starter, Daniel has averaged only six "touches" a game, but he's turned them into 4,099 yards — that's 20 yards per touch — and 45 touchdowns while helping Scott County win 30 of 33 games.

Daniel was at his best against Madison Central last week. He got the ball 11 times and generated 236 all-purpose yards and five TDs. He returned a punt 72 yards for a score, caught TD passes of 22, 19 and 16 yards, and added a 22-yard dash to the end zone.

Daniel, who plays wide receiver, return man and safety, kids his coach about wanting the ball more, "but I'm not complaining. I know our offense is based on the run," he said. "I just do whatever I can with the touches I get."

Daniel is also a standout on defense. He has nine career interceptions and is one of the Cards' hardest hitters.

"I think he's Mr. Football for the overall impact he has on a game," McKee said. "He excels at everything."

Daniel was on track to be a quarterback — he led Scott County's freshman team to a 10-0 record — before he moved to wide receiver for his sophomore year.

He surprised himself by earning a starting spot, and by catching three passes for 88 yards and a touchdown in his first varsity game. "Things kept getting better and better after that," he said.

Daniel finished his sophomore season with 48 catches for 971 yards and nine TDs, and 1,339 all-purpose yards, for a team that went unbeaten before losing to Trinity in the Class 6A finals.

Daniel was even more productive as a junior, piling up 2,028 all-purpose yards and 21 TDs in helping the Cards reach the state semifinals, where they lost a 21-14 heartbreaker to Trinity.

In four games this year he has 666 yards and 12 scores on 33 touches.

Daniel's athletic ability — he's a tough-as-flint 6-foot, 180-pounder with 4.5 speed — translates to baseball, too. An infielder, he hit .351 and led Scott County in RBI and stolen bases last spring.

Cards baseball coach and football assistant Scott Willard said Daniel has Division I baseball talent. "He runs really well. He's got a good arm and he's a good hitter.

"And," Willard added, "if Scott wanted to play basketball, I think he'd be one of the best players in this school."

Daniel's development into a star isn't a surprise to the person closest to him — his twin brother, Thomas, a linebacker on the football team and catcher on the baseball team.

"I always knew Scott had it in him," Thomas said. "He was an exceptional quarterback when he was younger, but the move to wide-out really benefited him. His speed and explosiveness allowed him to change the game in more ways than handing the ball off and throwing it."

Thomas, who's a minute older than Scott, isn't jealous of his brother's higher profile. "I'm really excited for him and the opportunities he's going to have," he said.

But he does wish he had Scott's speed: "I got the short end of the stick on that one," Thomas said with a laugh.

(Thomas did want to point out that he has a higher ACT score than his brother. "I got him there," he said, smiling.)

The Daniel twins come by their sports jones naturally. Their grandfather, Tucker Daniel, played semi-pro baseball. Their father, Roger Daniel, played football for Walter Brugh at Paintsville and was on the Tigers' 1978 state runner-up team. Roger played college baseball at Western Kentucky University.

Scott and Thomas both want to play college football.

Thomas said Centre and Lindsey Wilson are showing the most interest in him.

Scott is puzzled by the lack of big Division I schools recruiting him.

"That's a question I've been wondering about for two years," he said. "I've got decent size and decent speed, and I feel I've done all I can possibly do with my limited touches per game. I think I make the most of my opportunities."

Scott does have a scholarship offer from Wofford, and he's encouraged by the attention he's getting from the University of Kentucky.

The Cats have had him and his brother at both home games this season, and Scott has talked a lot with offensive coordinator Neal Brown.

Daniel said he's "not real interested in walking on" at UK, but he admits "it'd be appealing to get a chance to play there.

"I do think they're keeping me around for a reason and contacting me regularly. If a couple commits don't come through, maybe something could open up for me."

Roger Daniel has no doubt that Scott can play Division I football.

"He's got the skills, he's got the athleticism, he's got the speed, he's got the toughness and he's got the work ethic to play at that level," Roger Daniel said. "People can argue about what conference and what team, but if somebody gives him a chance, I think once he gets comfortable with the system he'll produce, and I think he'll produce big."

Daniel's career statistics

(33 games)


103 catches, 2,132 yards, 32 TDs


15 carries, 291 yards, 2 TDs


44 attempts, 700 yards, 6 TDs


28 attempts, 858 yards, 4 TDs


9 picks, 52 yards, 0 TDs


2-for-5, 66 yards, 1 TD


204 touches, 4,099 yards, 45 TDs

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader