SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- DaVaris Daniels doesn't want to be the next Michael Floyd, or Golden Tate, or Jeff Samardzija. But he does want to be the next great wide receiver at Notre Dame.
"I'm aware of them, but I'm my own player," Daniels said. "I'm different from most of them so it's kind of hard to compare my game to anybody else. But I'm just trying to work on my craft and keep being consistent at what I do."
That's a couched, undersold answer, so gregarious cornerback KeiVarae Russell offered an elaboration. Daniels told him last year his goal is to be one of the greatest receivers to ever play at Notre Dame, to which Russell replied: "I don't doubt you. I think you will."
Through three games, Daniels has 17 catches for 299 yards and four touchdowns, but hasn't shown the consistency that Notre Dame coaches hope to get out of him. For coach Brian Kelly, the next step in Daniels' progression is to take the second half he had against Purdue (six catches, 130 yards, two touchdowns) and apply that dominance for four quarters.
"He's two quarters of the way," Kelly said. "He needs to be four quarters of the way. He can obviously impact a football game. We want him to impact it four quarters, and he's capable of doing that.
"It just requires, that mental approach, which is coming. And you can see it. I mean, you can see it in practice. You can see it in the way he's maturing off the field. He's doing all the little things."
Daniels' 82-yard touchdown against Purdue was a show of just how good he can be. Not only did he beat top Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen in man-to-man coverage, he leveled a stout stiff-arm on him and darted into the end zone for a go-ahead score.
Fellow receiver and senior captain T.J. Jones said the play wasn't a shock, since he's seen Daniels do stuff like that in practice.
"It's not kind of a surprise when he makes them in the game because all week long he's making the tough catches, he's making the deep catches and he's running after he catches the ball," Jones said.
Daniels' big-picture goal may be a somewhat vague -- to be great in a school's history is to be measured against your peers -- but that's somewhat by design. He said he's not much of a big picture guy, and instead focuses on his more narrow aspirations.
"You want to come off the field, end of the season saying I did everything that I could," Daniels said. "And the end result is going to be the end result no matter what.
"So I think the only thing that you can really do is focus on today, and try to get better and do the things you know you can do on a consistent basis."