For Robertson Daniel, the journey to get to Division I football has been a long one, but one that has seen him grow both athletically and academically.
“Classes are going good,” Daniel said. “I’ve only got one more month. My finals start June 24th. I’m thinking … it might be June 28th when I get up to BYU because my last final is on the 27th. I can’t stand finals though man. I’m trying to just have A’s before finals so that I don’t have to stress about it.”
Although blessed with a lot of talent, Robertson ended up going the JUCO route out of high school.
“I would have had some offers out of high school, but I had some trouble on my team, and didn’t get to finish out my senior year. Therefore I just chose to go to junior college. That’s where I found out I could really play at the next level.”
So how has Daniel done in the forty-yard dash and with his lifting?
“The last time I really tested my speed in the forty was a year and a half ago. I ran a 4.52.”
When asked if he thinks he has improved on that time, he said, “Oh yeah, faster now, much faster. I maxed out last time on my bench at 275.”
Recently, BYU issued Daniel a new workout guide, which he received in the mail on May 14. However, he hadn’t been slacking off before he received the workout packet.
“Well before I’ve been doing a lot of weightlifting, field workouts, and resistant band workouts in order to work on my fast twitch muscles. I’ve been doing a lot of running on my own before the packet came. After visiting BYU I figured I needed to be in tremendous shape when I get there in June.”
Since receiving the packet from BYU, his workouts have changed a bit.
“It’s more power cleans and squats, more leg workouts, and after each set raising the weight five-to-10 pounds. It’s pretty hard, because it’s a long process. The workout plan has me running a lot as well, but I’m a bit more used to that. The main difference is just a lot more weights. I was using a lot of resistant bands, but they’ve got me using more weights now.”
So does Daniel work out with his junior college team as well?
“No, I don’t really like working out with all of the other guys all in the weight room. There is just way too much socializing. I like to go by myself so I can work out hard.”
Academically, Daniel didn’t quite qualify eligibility-wise to transfer mid-year, which most teams are looking for from junior college players.
When asked to break down his eligibility, Daniel said, “So out of high school I played my freshman year, and played my sophomore year. After my sophomore year I used my redshirt year to get my degree. So when I get to BYU I’ll have two years to play two.”
With an entire redshirt year since the last time he played football, how was Daniel able to use that time to get better?
“I worked really hard on footwork, to become an actual corner. At De Anza I played mostly safety, and in high school I was a wide receiver. So, I didn’t really know the technique and stuff, so over that time I was just perfecting my technique, getting loose hips, working on route recognition – you know, all that stuff. Jamming off the line and stuff.”
Obviously, academics and failing to qualify for a mid-year transfer played a huge role in his recruitment out of junior college.
“Yeah, I had offers from UNLV, Idaho,” he said. “In the beginning I had Texas Tech, I had San Jose State, and I had an offer from Arizona. I had a lot of schools come through there, but when I didn’t meet the mid-year transfer deadline most schools fell off.”
BYU coaches have been keeping in contact regularly with junior college commitments in the 2013 class, and Daniel is no exception.
“I talk to coaches at least once a week,” said Daniel. “They always call me to ask me how my classes are, and if I’m working out and running and getting in shape. They just ask me how I’m doing with everything and in life, you know? Coach Howell is sick. I like Coach Howell. He’s real laid back and he’s honest. He knows what he’s talking about when he’s coaching and talking football. I think that I’ll get along with Coach Howell real well.”
So what does Daniel expect for his junior year, and what kinds of goals has he set for himself?
“Starter. I want to be a starter, and compete from the first day. I think just my overall goal for the season is to get better every day, perfect my craft, and keep receivers out of the end zone.”