Iowa football: Mike Daniels is Packers best kept secret

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Iowa football team has produced several NFL caliber defensive linemen recently. Mike Daniels was part of a terrific line during his Hawkeye career.

The Iowa football program has tapped into the state of New Jersey for several recruits. Mostly running backs (a few of which made our top five running backs list) but the Hawkeyes found in a gem in defensive lineman Mike Daniels as part of the 2007 recruiting class. Daniels only had two scholarships offers, Iowa and Temple.

He redshirted his freshman season at Iowa starting being worked into the rotation during his redshirt sophomore season, playing in 13 games while recording 10.0 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

He flourished in his junior and senior years when he got the chance to be a regular on the defensive line. In 2010, Daniels played in 13 games (8 starts) and recorded 40.0 total tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks as a junior. The following year, he put up eye-popping numbers.

As a senior, Daniels recorded 67.0 total tackles with 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks. That was more than enough to get the attention of the Green Bay Packers who selected him in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

In his first two seasons, Daniels was part of a rotation but started in just 1 game. Between the two seasons, he recorded 40.0 total tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. In 2014, Daniels became a starter for the Packers and has been ever since.

Since 2014, Daniels has racked up 196.0 total tackles, 34.0 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2017 and has been a regular in the NFL Top 100 Players list since 2016. This past season, he played in 10 games but suffered a foot injury in Week 11 that ultimately shut his season down.

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Daniels’ transition from Iowa to the NFL has been nothing short of incredible. Going from barely being recruited to one of the best NFL players has been amazing to watch. Iowa and Kirk Ferentz have always done a good job finding the diamonds in the rough, and Mike Daniels is among the many diamonds that have come through the doors of the Iowa football program.