Getting to know: Defensive back signee Mordecai McDaniel

Apr 20, 2020 | 0 comments


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Mordecai McDaniel‍ was part of one of the Gators’ most successful recruiting days in the 2020 cycle.

On the morning of Dec. 13, reports surfaced that offensive lineman Joshua Braun‍ had flipped from Georgia to Florida. That evening, McDaniel flipped from Tennessee to the Gators.

McDaniel, a four-star prospect from St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C., became the third – and as it would turn out, final – piece in a much-needed infusion of talent in UF’s shaky safety corps. He’s a track athlete who also played cornerback and wide receiver in high school but is expected to play safety exclusively at Florida.


While he awaits his summer enrollment at UF and hopefully the beginning of his college career, he’s working out every day with his brother and some of his friends. They do one-on-one drills against each other with someone throwing the ball up, among other activities.

“Being able to compete with my actual blood brother, it’s really getting me to where I need to be,” McDaniel said

“They’re still keeping me active. I go out for runs and all that to keep my wind up since track season’s over.”

McDaniel is a physical, versatile player with a large personality, which is on display in this edition of “Getting to know.”

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Personal

What do you plan on majoring in? 
“It’s either I’m going to go into the finance field or marketing. I started to do – what is it called? Foreign exchange, I want to say – a couple years ago. So, I was working with stocks and all that stuff. I just liked it while I was doing it.”

If you had a chance to go on a dream date, who would it be with?
“Oprah Winfrey.”

What would be your first purchase if you got drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft?
“I’d probably buy a new game for my Xbox.”

What is one item that you cannot live without?
“My phone.”

What is your favorite professional football team?
“The Panthers. My older brother liked the Panthers, and he just put it on me at a young age. But one of my other brothers, he liked the Patriots. I don’t know why. He basically just put it on me to like the Panthers. Then, I want to say I got my first Panthers jersey; it was Julius Peppers’ 99. I want to say I was like 11.”

Who is your favorite professional player right now?
“Tyrann Mathieu, the Honey Badger. He just seems like he has fun on the field, and he’s getting it done too.”

Who has been the biggest role model for you in your life?
“My brothers. My parents told me what’s right and what’s wrong, but they really got it in my head what to do in life and how I should carry myself in life and how I should spend my money and all that. They’ve just had a huge impact on my life going through a lot of things, my ups and downs.”

What are your favorite types of music? Do you have a favorite artist or song?
“Hip hop. My favorite artist is Q Da Fool and Cheecho.”

What is your favorite movie?
“‘Coffee and Kareem.’”

What is your favorite TV show? 
“‘Regular Show’ because the main character’s name is Mordecai.”

If you could spend the day with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
“I’m going to spend my day with Rihanna ’cause Rihanna looks good as hell, and she’s probably fun to be around.”

Where do you see yourself five years from now? 
“Hopefully I’m in the league, but the vision I’m getting is probably in the ice bath relaxing, recovering.”

What are the three things on your bucket list?
“I really want to go skydiving. I really want to have a 50-versus-50 paintball war. So, I’m going to get a bunch of friends. We’re just going to get after it, honestly. And, I want to drive a NASCAR.”

What is one thing about you that the Gator Nation would be surprised to find out about?
“That I love [roller] skating and that I play the drums.”

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2020 Signees Getting to Know Series

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Football/Recruiting

Take us through the process that led to your commitment. What was that experience like for you?
“The whole recruitment experience was hell. It was annoying because all the reporters and everybody just being in your face. And all of a sudden, my number got out. So, I had random people calling me. We were getting random text messages. At first, I was committed to Tennessee, and I think everybody knows that. After deeper thought and I prayed about it a lot more and I looked over all the things with my family, and I just really felt that Florida was the best possible – Florida’s going to be the best stage to broadcast my skills and get me to the next level. It really wasn’t that hard because I talked to my family and I prayed about it. So, that really made things a bit more easier.”

Which school came in second for you and why?
“[Tennessee]. When I went down there, I saw how happy my folks were, and they were showing my folks love and all that.”

What was the craziest, strangest or weirdest moment of the recruiting cycle?
“I was in the mall, and this parent – and he was with a kid and all that – he just walked up, and I want to say he was like arm-reach from me. He was like, ‘Oh my God. Are you Mordecai McDaniel? Such a Gator!’ I was like, ‘Thank you, OK.’ Like, he was mad loud and made a scene and all that. So, I’d probably say that was the weirdest thing.”

If there is one thing you could change about the recruiting process, what would it be?
“The stars. I think those should just disappear. I don’t think the stars really matter, honestly.”

If you could play a sport outside of football, which sport would it be?
“It would be running track. That’s what I’m going to do when I get to college.”

What is your favorite football memory?
“Winning the championship in high school.”

What would you say are some of your greatest strengths as a football player? What do you need to work on?
“My greatest strength as a football player is my speed and my will to try to put my body through somebody else. One thing I need to work on is my eyes. I can’t keep having my eyes in the backfield.”

What is the most appealing part to you about the University of Florida?
“I want to say the coaches but mostly the players I’m going to be around with for the next few years.”

What do you really need to work on the most when you get to Florida?
“The main thing I’m really going to be focused on is starting a business or really trying to use the school to get me set for life even after football. With football, I really just want to perfect my craft.”

If you could pick any jersey number, what would it be?
“No. 20. That was my brother’s number. He passed that number down to me. We both had a legacy up at St. John’s, and he, unfortunately, stopped playing football at Villanova, and he wore 20 up there. He was a safety just like me. It just means a bit more just because he stopped playing football. I look at it as an opportunity for him since he’s done.”

Who are you looking to room with once you get on campus?
“Honestly, I don’t even know. I hope I get my own little room.”

Which NFL player do you liken yourself to the most?
“It’s either probably Joe Haden or Marcus Allen. Just how aggressive they are, how they built and I really look at how much fun they have on the field. They be having a blast.”

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