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Notre Dame’s Daniels looking to build off strong BCS title game

Notre Dame's DaVaris Daniels (10) catches pass between Alabama's Vinnie Sunseri (3) Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix during first half BCS National Championship

Notre Dame's DaVaris Daniels (10) catches a pass between Alabama's Vinnie Sunseri (3) and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix during the first half of the BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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Updated: September 20, 2013 6:27AM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame didn’t have many highlights in the Bowl Championship Series title game in January, but receiver DaVaris Daniels’ performance on the big stage was one of them.

Daniels, a graduate of Vernon Hills High School, had a career-high 115 receiving yards in the Irish’s 42-14 loss to Alabama.

Daniels missed the last two games of the regular season in 2012 because of a broken collarbone. He recovered in time for the title game and returned with a splash. He caught six passes,
including a 31-yarder, and is looking to build off that performance.

‘‘Learning from that game, I think I saw what I can do against good defenses,’’ Daniels said
recently. ‘‘There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that on a game-to-game basis. I think that was the main thing I took from it.’’

Daniels didn’t get any playing time in 2011, but he played in 11 games — and made three starts — last season, catching 31 passes for 490 yards. His role might continue to expand this season.

‘‘I’m excited,’’ Daniels said. ‘‘It’s something that everybody dreams of — being the guy that everybody can rely on and have that kind of pressure on you. I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good year.’’

Daniels can stretch the field. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch last season, the most among Notre Dame receivers with at least eight receptions.

‘‘Daniels will be a legitimate BCS wide receiver,’’ Irish coach Brian Kelly said. ‘‘He will be a guy that you’ll have to pay attention to. He’s doing a great job of running vertically. Getting the football to him will be important, especially vertically. [With] him and TJ [Jones], I think we’re going to have great balance, probably the best balance in the wide-receiving corps since I’ve been here.’’

Daniels said he likes what he has seen of the offense, beginning with quarterback Tommy Rees.

‘‘Tommy’s confidence is through the roof,’’ Daniels said. ‘‘I know he feels the pressure, but Tommy thrives in that kind of
situation. We’re real excited about the season.’’

Daniels said his game is ‘‘right where I want it’’ to make a contribution.

‘‘Talking to the coaches, consistency was the key we preached throughout the spring and going into camp,’’ Daniels said. ‘‘I think I’ve done a good job with that
so far.’’

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