“I’m a competitor,” the 6-foot, 217-pound quarterback said on Saturday. “I like to prove people wrong and do what I have to do to be successful.”
So if it means taking hand-offs as a running back – throwing passes as a drop-back passer or fielding kicks during special teams periods – Daniels is up to the challenge.
The nimble passer is one of two quarterbacks in camp with the 49ers along with Nate Montana, son of legendary 49ers Hall of Famer, Joe Montana.
Daniels, however, hasn’t strictly been dropping back to pass. He’s been used in a variety of roles at rookie camp. The winning collegiate athlete is primarily learning the position to begin his career in San Francisco.
Daniels compared the 49ers playbook to a dictionary.
“It’s pretty big, but there’s a lot of good stuff in there… a good read,” he said. “I’m doing whatever I can to make sure I can get it done.”
Studying San Francisco’s playbook is similar to the South Florida system Daniels excelled in during his productive career in the Big East. Daniels passed for 8,433 yards in college. He threw 52 touchdowns and added a school-record 25 rushing scores in an impressive career.
Daniels finished his career third all-time in the Big East with 10,501 yards of total offense.
“Football is football, the only thing I’m trying to learn now is the terminology,” Daniels said. “It’s like speaking a whole different language.”
The biggest change for the rookie signal-caller is playing under center. Daniels isn’t completely unfamiliar with it, but most of his playing time for the Bulls was spent in shotgun formations.
Coincidentally, the shotgun experience prepared Daniels for special teams duties with the 49ers.
“In the shotgun, you’ve got to field the ball to get a snap,” Daniels reasoned. “I’m comfortable with my hands… Anything I can do to help out, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
It also didn't hurt that Daniels reached out to his USF teammates to help him prepare for a potential special teams role in the NFL. Daniels wanted to “keep his options open," so he caught punts and kick-offs back on USF's campus.
At Friday’s opening minicamp practice, Daniels didn’t look like a quarterback fielding punts, he looked very much like an intriguing open for the 49ers. When the veterans return to join rookies for Organized Team Activities, Daniels could be in the mix for more special teams opportuntieis.
“Honestly, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team,” Daniels said. “Whatever’s asked me of me I’m going to do.”
For now, Daniels’ biggest focus is on learning the offense as a quarterback. He’s soaking up every bit of knowledge from Jim Harbaugh, a respected quarterback coach, who just so happens to be San Francisco’s head coach.
“I know he’s a fiery guy,” Daniels said of his new coach. “He’s very passionate about what he does. I’m very excited to be blessed to be out here.”