Players of the Pine Belt: Sumrall’s Cole Daniels ready to come up big

Fifth-year defensive tackle adds 30-plus pounds for senior season

Players of the Pine Belt: Sumrall's Cole Daniels ready to come up big

SUMRALL, Miss. (WDAM) Cole Daniels already knows where he will be next fall, verbally committing to the University of South Alabama.

But the senior defensive tackle wants him and his teammates to leave a lasting impression in his final season at Sumrall High School

“Since I came to Sumrall it’s been so special to me,” said Daniels, who was chosen as the Bobcats’ “Player of the Pine Belt.” “I learned a lot. I love the coaches and just everything about Sumrall.

“We are really young, but we’ve come together. We’ve been working our (rears) off, so I think we’re going to be pretty good.”

The injury-riddled Bobcats struggled to a 3-8 record in 2019, missing the Class 3A playoffs.

But Sumrall coach Shannon White has liked what he’s seen of this year’s version of the Bobcats.

“We’ve got a lot of juniors, so these guys have played,” White said. “It’s not a large senior group. I hope we stay healthy this year. We had a lot of issues last year with that, but you can’t control it.

“They all love football and love practice. We’ve been doing this for a couple of months now and had great attendance all summer long. We’re excited about what we’ve got.”

And White is excited about the 6-foot-2 Daniels, who added 30-plus pounds in the offseason to tip the scales at 302 pounds.

“As an eighth grader, he played a lot of games for us,” White said. “The day he stepped into that locker room, even as an eighth grader, he was one of our leaders.”

Daniels said he added the weight with an eye on college ball.

“I know when I go to play college football, I know I’m going to need that weight because there are bigger guys out there that are way bigger than me, so I don’t wanna be pushed around,” Daniels said. “I’m strong, but I wanted to add some weight, too.”

White said Daniels is a magnet in the locker room, an example that his teammates try and emulate.

“He just has that personality about him,” White said. “He’s upbeat. Teachers love him. He’s just the same guy every day. Loves practice. Loves football. Loves school. Loves people. Just an awesome guy.

"He's definitely the guy that we look to get practice going and to establish the tempo as well as the attitude in the locker room. They listen to him. He doesn't do it in a way that's intimidating. he's just got that natural leadership. You just want to follow him."

Daniels said his shoulders are broad enough to handle the responsibility.

“I know a lot of younger guys are looking up to me and everything I do at practice, they’re watching behind me and pick up from it, so I just gotta be a big part,” Daniels said.

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