By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
B.J. Daniel isn’t looking to be in the spotlight when becomes the first Cannon County football player to participate in the annual Tennessee East-West All-Star Game in Cookeville Friday.
The senior linebacker/running back is hoping the focus is on his helmet. Specifically, the CC logo.
“I have so much pride in where I am from and I can’t wait to represent Cannon County in this game,” Daniel said. “I will have so much pride in showing off my logo on my helmet. More than anything, I just want people to know Cannon County is represented in this game. I was excited when I got the news. I couldn’t believe it.”
Daniel became the first Cannon County football player ever to be selected to play in the East-West All-Star event that showcases the state’s most talented gridiron greats.
The All-Star game will be played at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville Friday (Dec. 13). Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Players from the East and West squads reported to Cookeville Tuesday. They will spend Wednesday and Thursday preparing for Friday’s game, while also taking advantage of events planned for them throughout the week.
“This is not just a big deal for B.J.,” said Cannon County first-year Head Football Coach T.J. Daniel. “It is a big deal for the school, our football program, and our community. It’s a great honor for B.J. to be selected and be part of this. It also shows others that the opportunity is out there. Anyone can have this opportunity if they are willing to work hard and put in the time necessary “
Daniel, who will play for the East All-Stars, will be surrounded by some of the state’s top standouts. Selected as a linebacker/long snapper, Daniel is the only defensive player selected to the squad from District 8-AA. Upperman quarterback Connor York is the only other player from District 8-AA selected.
Players representing state champions Webb, Alcoa, Knoxville West, Fulton and Maryville are sprinkled throughout the roster.
“I don’t know which side has more talent,” B.J. Daniel said of the East-West rosters. “There are a lot of good players on both sides. There are a lot of big name schools on our side. I’m kind of nervous and not sure how things will play out, but I’m looking forward to finding out.”
Daniel, a four-year starter, saved his best for last.
The hard-hitting, hard-working Daniel finished his senior season with 187 total tackles (104 solo), 32 tackles for loss and 16 sacks.
“I just think if you work your butt off, do your part in the weight room and do your part for your team and things can fall in place for you,” B.J. Daniel said. “I feel that is what happened. I hope more people behind me are able to do this.”
B.J. Daniel is being recruited by schools to play at the next level. This opportunity could open more doors.
“It’s another chance to get looked at by college coaches and be around some top-notch players,” Coach Daniel said. “When he does go play at the next level he has a little more of a feel for it. It’s a great individual honor, but B.J. is most excited about representing Cannon County.”
B.J. Daniel has represented Cannon County well for four years.
This time he will do it on a larger stage.