The attrition on Oklahoma State’s football roster continues.
Darrion Daniels, the senior defensive tackle who played in just four games this season because of a season-ending finger injury in September, will graduate and play his final season of eligibility at Nebraska, Robert Allen of GoPokes.com first reported Monday and the Tulsa World has confirmed.
Daniels’ younger brother, Damion Daniels, is a redshirt freshman defensive lineman on the Cornhuskers’ roster.
Prior to this news, there was some thought Daniels would be an unexpected, but welcome returner on an OSU defensive line that will lose all four starters. The senior from Dallas was able to redshirt this season because he only played in four games before his injury.
Daniels, who started 10 games a year ago, had seven tackles and a sack before he got hurt in practice in between games against Texas Tech and Kansas.
More than his production, though, Daniels’ leadership was vital to an OSU team that struggled to develop vocal leaders en route to a 6-6 season.
While Daniels did not travel to Oklahoma State’s 48-28 win over Kansas the week after his injury, he was a fixture on the sidelines and in pregame huddles down the stretch. Mike Gundy felt strongly enough about Daniels’ leadership to take him to road games against Baylor, Oklahoma and TCU, giving a player in street clothes one of the 75 spots on the travel roster.
“Darrion is good for us,” Gundy said last month. “He was leading our defense before he got hurt because he’s experienced, he’s a good player, he’s vocal, he backs up what he says. It’s hard to lead when you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, or you’re telling them to do something and you don’t do it.”
That leadership will make its way to Lincoln, Nebraska, for Scott Frost’s second season.
Oklahoma State will have no career starts on its defensive line now that Daniels and Jordan Brailford have made decisions to leave. Brailford announced Monday he would enter the NFL draft.
The most experienced defensive ends expected to return are redshirt freshman Brock Martin and junior Mike Scott. Redshirt freshman Brendon Evers and sophomore Cameron Murray are the top returning defensive tackles.
Oklahoma State has three defensive ends committed to its 2019 class and two defensive tackles. It also had a number of redshirting linemen this season: Ends Tyler Lacy and Braden Cassity, and tackles Samuela Tuihalamaka and Amadou Fofana.
The Daniels report comes on the same day that Gundy announced running back Justice Hill and right guard Larry Williams would not participate in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, and hours after Brailford’s announcement. Brailford will play in the bowl game.
Here’s a list of Oklahoma State scholarship players who have decided to transfer since the start of the season. Four of the five started at least two games this season.
WR Jalen McCleskey (Tulane)
S Thabo Mwaniki (unknown)
RB J.D. King (Georgia Southern)
QB John Kolar (unknown)
DT Darrion Daniels (Nebraska)