If you followed Texas Tech's spring football practice at all in 2011, then you surely know the name Ronnie Daniels. He was a 3-star recruit from Tech's 2011 class that came in listed as an athlete. He graduated early from high school, went through spring drills and quickly made a name for himself in Tech's backfield as a running back.
“Ronnie Daniels is getting better and better. It’s going to be hard to keep him out of the lineup," Tommy Tuberville said after Tech's second scrimmage last spring. Those types of quotes became common about Daniels as the Red Raiders progressed through the spring.
That apparent potential never came to fruition once the season finally rolled around, however. Daniels was suspended for Texas Tech's season opening win over Texas State. The following week against New Mexico he finally got into the mix and finished with 43 yards on nine carries and also scored a touchdown.
It was unknown at the time, but that would be it for Daniels. Those same nine carries and 43 yards were also his final stats for the season.
He was suspended for the third game against Nevada before Texas Tech announced his suspension would be indefinite for a violation of team rules.
Daniels suspension certainly became an issue for Texas Tech - and a huge missed opportunity for Daniels - when the team's leading rusher, Eric Stephens tore his ACL in the fifth game of the season and missed the rest of the year.
After finally getting his issues squared away, Daniels has finally found his way back on the team Tuberville announced this week which was lost in all the signing day hooppla.
"Ronnie Daniels has been reinstated back on the football team. I think that his couple of months away from the team has made him a lot stronger person academically and athletically, and I'm anxious to see what he can do for us in the next three or four years. He's an excellent athlete with a lot of ability. I'm just excited him being back on the team," Tuberville said.
With Stephens still rehabbing his knee injury, Daniels should get another chance to shine this spring and into the fall should he be able to keep his nose clean between now and then. Texas Tech does return DeAndre Washington, Kenny Williams, and Aaron Crawford at running back, each who saw significant action last season although none of them had the success that Stephens did early in the season.
Given the ability Daniels flashed last spring, you would have to think Tuberville and offensive coordinator, Neal Brown, will give Daniels a good, hard look again this spring.
"He understands the situation that he's in, and one person is not bigger than the entire team. He can help this team win games. He can also be a detriment. I want him to come back and be part of this team like he was before," Tuberville added. "Players have accepted him. He's done a great job in the weight room and working out. So we're excited about Ronnie Daniels being back."