Tallahassee, FL - Jacobbi McDaniel never thought about giving up. When people said his injury could end his career, he never considered letting football go.
Through the endless hours of rehab, to the painful sight of his Seminoles taking the field without him, and even as this year's NFL Draft passed him by - it was supposed to be his NFL Draft - McDaniel fought through.
"It was real hard, man because I never had to experience something like that," said McDaniel, a Florida State defensive tackle.
The fifth-year senior dislocated his ankle and broke his fibula in his right leg about two years ago during a game against Duke.
"I was like, 'Oh, God.' I peaked," he said with a pause, "and I peaked my head up and I looked and my foot was like just hanging there."
It was season-ending. By the following fall he still wasn't completely healthy. Fortunately, a redshirt was available.
"Believe it or not, I never got down," he said. "That's why I came to the game the very next week after having surgery."
He was one of the top recruits in the country in 2009 coming out of Madison County. Many guys from that class, including Madison County teammate Chris Thompson, were in the NFL Draft this past April.
"I came in with those guys and some considered me as the bell cow," he said. "So why is everyone else going to the league and the bell cow is not going to the league?"
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he used it as fuel. Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has even inserted McDaniel into the offense at fullback. He's expected to be used for short-yardage situations.
"He's very strong now," Fisher said. "Standing around 295 pounds but moving extremely well, playing with his power and you can see the experience."
"Opportunity after opportunity," McDaniel said. "and I'm seeking every opportunity. I'm taking full advantage, man."
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