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K.D. McDaniel Provides UCF with a Versatile Edge Defender

Kentucky edge defender transfer K.D. McDaniel can play multiple positions for the UCF Knights.

ORLANDO - Adding good pass rushers to the roster will continue to be a priority for UCF’s Football program, and K.D. McDaniel brings the skills to play multiple roles along the edge of the defensive line.

McDaniel was a standout for Tift County High School in Tifton, Ga. and was a part of Kentucky’s recruiting class of 2019. He has been a reserve for the Wildcats the past three seasons prior to entering the Transfer Portal. With the addition of the one year of eligibility the NCAA granted all players for the 2020 “COVID” season, McDaniel still holds three years of eligibility to play for UCF.

Kentucky operates a 3-4 defense and McDaniel played the stand up outside linebacker position for the Wildcats, and it’s something he’s likely to play for UCF. In addition, he’s also capable of playing with his hand in the dirt, and that’s something that will be discussed specifically below.

K.D. McDaniel

Vitals: 6’2”, 250-pounds

Position: Outside Linebacker/Defensive End

High School/College: Tifton (Ga.) Tift County / University of Kentucky

Recruitment: Kentucky landed McDaniel over offers from Ole Miss, Indiana, USF, UCF, South Carolina, East Carolina, and Troy among others.

Frame

This is a grown man. Sturdy and thick build that’s ready for combat. Has the length to play on the edge but he’s best physical attribute would be McDaniel’s over sturdiness throughout his frame.

Athleticism

Ability to bend and cut in space is good. Uses his hands away from his body to move blockers away from him with ease. Closes on ball carriers with a natural running motion. Good flexibility for a defensive end with such a compact and thick frame.

Raw Power

This is a player that will gladly run over an offensive guard just as well as juking to get around him. McDaniel has natural strength similar to a defensive tackle, and it will serve him well to thwart double teams and play against bigger offensive lineman in general.

From a strength standpoint and his overall style of play, McDaniel is similar to Big Kat Bryant in that he will often use pull rush moves just as often as attempting to run the hoop and use speed to get to the quarterback.

Hustle

This is a young man that goes hard all the time. His attitude towards each play is run as fast as possible until the whistle blows. He constantly ran down players in high school that were 20 and 30 yards ahead of him because he hustled while the ball carrier attempted to maneuver through other defenders which allowed McDaniel to catch up with his effort. That’s awesome to watch.

Best Attribute

McDaniel’s ability to play in a three-point stance, stay low after the snap, engage an offensive tackle or guard, and then penetrate by way of his hands to move past the opposition is tremendous. He played in this role during his high school days, but was only doing it part of the time for Tift County High School. He could be asked to do it for UCF, especially in short yardage situations where his natural strength comes into play even more.

Even when standing up, McDaniel is capable of playing with power and maneuvering past an offensive tackle with inside pass rush moves just as well as traditional speed rush moves. This will assist in his overall development.

Pass Rush Moves

He’s used a two-hand swipe, dip and rip, as well as a bull rush among his moves. Well, at least that’s what he did coming out of high school. He’s certainly added to his repertoire while in Lexington, Ky. so this upcoming spring game for UCF will be interesting to witness what else McDaniel likes to utilize.

Being an Anchor

Most edge defenders are far better against the pass. One could defend the argument that McDaniel is in fact better as a run defender. His ability to bend, stay low, and then attack like a two-gap defensive end in a 3-4 defensive scheme while still playing outside linebacker is unique. Not many outside linebackers can honestly stand up a 320-pound offensive tackle, find the ball carrier, shed the blocker, and chase down the runner. McDaniel can absolutely do that.

He will be an asset against teams that really like to run outside zone and/or have a mobile quarterback that likes to move outside the pocket. At some point in 2022, there will be a play where his power and versatility will help make a special play that few can match.

Final Thoughts

McDaniel brings the athleticism, power, hustle, and attitude to be a disruptive force along the outside edge of the UCF defense. He simply needs to find his niche to help the Knights. He’s too good of an athlete not to contribute this next fall, and UCF Football is fortunate to be bringing him into the program.

For UCF coverage and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. For more college football, UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Like and Subscribe!

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