The Flying Hawaiian: Brenden Daley’s Journey

Brenden Daley is a laid back, relaxed, easygoing kind of guy, until he gets on the field. The 6’3’’ 250 linebacker out of the University of Hawaii personifies the Hawaiian image, performing the traditional Hawaiian “Haka” dance before games, surfing on his free time, and is currently learning to play the ukulele.

“Going to school in Hawaii is a one of a kind experience,” said Daley. “Being able to go to the school that is 15 minutes away from a beach and the most beautiful scenery in the world is amazing. So, I am truly blessed to be out here. It’s all football, surf, and good eating out here.”

Don’t let Daley’s tranquil lifestyle fool you. Between the whistles, the young man becomes an animated tackling machine. The 2013 All-Mountain West Honorable mention linebacker led his team last year with 90 tackles. He also contributed to 13.0 tackles for a loss, four sacks, and three forced fumbles in his senior season.

Daley’s path to a huge senior year with Hawaii started with much humbler beginnings. A 2009 graduate of Moorpark High School (Ca.), Daley attracted a lot of attention from Division I schools, including: UCLA, Utah, Fresno State, and a large interest from the University of Oregon. However, his high school GPA and SAT scores were not up to par with Division I standards. So, the highly recruited first team all-state prospect took his talents to Ventura College, a small junior college in Ventura, California. His sophomore year in junior college, Daley finished with 110 total tackles.

“I learned what it takes to be successful on and off the field, in junior college,” said Daley. “The little studying habits helped. I didn’t do much studying in high school. Junior college is a higher level. There is a lot of good talent in junior college. It taught me the higher level of weight lifting and film.”

After two, academically and athletically, successful years Ventura College, Daley was ranked the 44th junior college player in the nation and was once again being scouted by many Division I universities. Former Hawaii linebacker coach Tony Tuioti, recently hired as the Cleveland Brown’s defensive quality control coach, traveled to California to see Daley and convinced him to come on a recruiting trip to Hawaii.

“Tony Tuioti showed up to a Ventura game and he was really relaxed,” said Daley. “He gave off a straight Hawaii feel with some flip-flops and a nice shirt. I was like wow this guy is really selling the image for the school. He took me out in December of 2010 and I fell in love with the place. On the second day of my recruiting trip, I verbally committed. I fell in love with the tradition over here.”

Daley’s outstanding play at Hawaii has given him the opportunity to possibly play at the next level. He is athletic and fast enough to play either inside or outside linebacker in the NFL. His speed is his most shocking attribute. Although his current 40-yard dash time won’t be measured until his pro day on March 20th, Daley’s past 40-yard dash time would have ranked third among inside linebackers in this year’s NFL combine. At 250 pounds, Daley outweighs all of the combine linebackers, besides Western Kentucky’s Andrew Jackson, who ran a slower 40 time than Daley.

“I think the money maker is the 40,” said Daley. “On my pro day, I want to show everyone that at 6’3’’ 250 pounds, I can move.”

Not only is Daley working hard to improve his already impressive physical attributes, he is also training his mind for the NFL.

“I just picked up another book by Pat Quirwin,” said Daley. “I’m just doing more and more to learn about the NFL game. I have NFL game rewind, so me and my boys, Chalres Clay and a couple other guys, watch tape and try to see the similarities. Our head coach over here is Norm Chow and he has had some NFL experience, so I am trying to absorb as much knowledge and learn as much about the NFL game as possible through him.”

Of course, there are rumors of various teams taking interest in Daley. However, the Packers have been in contact with Daley’s agent and appear to be extremely interested. Which would mean the California native, who spent his college days in Hawaii, could end up playing in the freezing temperatures of Green Bay.

“I would love to do a Lambau leap,” said Daley. “I have played in cold. I practice in beautiful weather, don’t get me wrong. The weather would take some adjusting, but I definitely would not mind doing the Lambau leap.”

 

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Matt Moore contributes writings about the NFL Draft and Michigan Football for ProFootballCentral. Follow Matt on Twitter @Matt23Moore