ARCANUM – Arcanum senior Daniel O’Donnell became the second Trojan football player to commit to Earlham College this month when he made his commitment on Tuesday afternoon.
O’Donnell, the son of Angela and Tim O’Donnell, said he’s thrilled to have an opportunity to continue his football career at the collegiate level.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I love football and everything about it.”
At Earlham O’Donnell will join classmate Cole Burrell, who committed to the Quakers one week earlier. While it was Burrell who first made his commitment official, it was O’Donnell who got the recruiting process started for both of them.
“I took him to a game, and that’s what got him to end up going there,” O’Donnell said. “So I’m excited that we’re going to room together. It will be real interesting.”
Earlham started recruiting O’Donnell during his junior year of high school. He made some visits to the Richmond, Indiana, school and during one visit last fall brought along Burrell.
O’Donnell was drawn to Earlham because of head coach Nick Johnson, who was named the 2015 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year, and the Quaker football program.
“The facilities and the coach just won me over, and the overall atmosphere was amazing,” said O’Donnell, who will study biology and geology with hopes of becoming a microbiologist and studying diseases.
Earlham’s football team has struggled and has had six consecutive losing seasons, including back-to-back 0-10 seasons. The Quakers haven’t had a winning season since 2000, but O’Donnell is confident that Johnson, who is entering his second season leading the team, has the program heading in the right direction.
“With Coach Johnson there I can’t wait,” O’Donnell said. “I think we’re going to turn it around big time.”
For Earlham, a NCAA Division III school, O’Donnell will play a utility role and could see playing time on offense, defense and special teams like he did in high school.
“He’s just a great all-around athlete,” Arcanum football coach TJ Powers said. “He can catch the ball, run with the ball, do everything.”
O’Donnell, who was named the 2015 Cross County Conference Back of the Year, threw for 295 yards and six touchdowns while running for 1,234 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior. The four-year starter, including three years as the Trojans’ starting quarterback, also made 39 tackles on defense as a senior, returned kicks and punted for Arcanum.
“I think he’ll do great,” Powers said of O’Donnell’s college prospects. “My opinion is I’d try to get the ball in his hands as much as possible. But he said defensively might be a chance to go in right away and play.”
Wherever the Quakers need him, O’Donnell just wants an opportunity to contribute.
“I love anything I can do,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
O’Donnell was a great leader for Arcanum, Powers said, and the player who made the Trojans go. The Trojan coach is ready to see him continue to do that in college.
“Dan’s a great kid,” Powers said. “I’m real proud of him.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.