After a season that saw T.J. McDaniel rushed 2,122 yards and 34 touchdowns and the Dragons run off an incredible perfect regular season and deep playoff run, one could assume there were going to be some post-season honors coming McDaniel’s way.
After being selected as the unanimous Most Valuable Player in District 5-6A, McDaniel was awarded the Landry Award. The Landry Award recognizes the top high school football player in North Texas who demonstrates positive character and leadership attributes.
“It’s crazy how I found out that I was a finalist, I was watching a football game with a friend and I saw my name pop up on the television,” McDaniel says. “My buddy and I were both in shock over it. Coach Dodge called the next day with the news as well.”
McDaniel adds his name to the list of Landry winners that includes NFL All-Pro defensive player Myles Garrett, and recent NFL number one overall pick, Kyler Murray. McDaniel is well aware that he is in rare company.
“It’s really surreal to see my name with those players,” McDaniel stated. “They are amazing athletes and their success is motivating to me to work hard as well”
Head Coach Riley Dodge knew he had a special player both on and off the field.
“On the field, it was obvious the type of player T.J. is, but what I will always carry with me about T.J. McDaniel is the person he is off the field.” Dodge stated. “He is a selfless leader with a servant’s heart. His work ethic showed in his on-field results, but his character was obvious in the locker room and on the practice field.”
This wasn’t the first time the McDaniel family had attended the Landry Award celebration. In 2010, McDaniel’s older brother Cam was a finalist for the inaugural Landry Award.