Jacobbi McDaniel has had to work very hard to be where he is right now... but the salient point is that he is here. In the NFL. On the Cleveland Browns.
Many of us know the story, but McDaniel was quite heralded out of high school and ranked as the second best defensive tackle in all of high school football. He signed as arguably Florida State's most prized recruit in 2009. That class, of course, featured other FSU fixtures such as Greg Reid, Chris Thompson, Lonnie Pryor, Xavier Rhodes, Rodney Smith, and Bryan Stork. McDaniel was supposed to be the most talent of the bunch.
His collegiate career hit speed bump after speed bump, however. The worst of it all was breaking his ankle in 2011, which caused him to miss the entire 2012 season. The thing about Jacobbi is that he never gave up on his dream... not only of achieving glory at Florida State, but also of playing on Sundays. Last year, he achieved glory at Florida State. He was rewarded with a National Championship and finished with the second-most tackles for a defensive lineman, 29, just behind Timmy Jernigan. Now, he's chasing his dream of playing on Sundays, looking to prove that maybe he was worth a draft pick.
And now, with each waking hour, he is continuing to fight that fight. With each drill and blow of the whistle, Jacobbi is inching closer to his dream.
While undrafted, he still posesses the talent to make it in the NFL, as he has a very unique blend of size, speed, and quickness. What most underestimate about McDaniel is that he has ridiculous athleticism for a defensive tackle; what we forget is that he was actually once a two-sport star and even drafted as baseball player out of high school.
However, beyond his physical assets, his maturity is what will drive him to succeed. Jacobbi McDaniel had every reason to just call it a career when he broke his ankle in 2011. For most, that would have been too much to overcome.
Jacobbi McDaniel is not most, however. He's one of a kind. He's the kind that keeps his head held up high and just keeps working, not worrying about what others are doing but rather just working on himself, his craft, and his career as a defensive tackle in the NFL. And that's the lesson for all of us to learn. That maybe you'll suffer a setback or two. Maybe one of those setbacks will be so devastating that others will consider your career to be over. But that doesn't mean your dreams are out of reach. It just means you have more to play for; more fuel for the fire.
Jacobbi McDaniel beat out his competition at Florida State, then his competition in the Cleveland Browns' off-season camp, and will now exert his will throughout the practices and camps leading up to the upcoming season.
While Jacobbi McDaniel's path to the NFL has been full of twists and turns, he arrived in Cleveland with an enormous chip on his shoulder. And that's unfortunate news for opposing offensive linemen.