Anonymous long-snappers are the best kind of long snappers. And for the better part of two seasons, Scott Daly was exactly that.
But when Notre Dame’s field goal battery started to go up in smoke, Daly’s role in the machine started to get a second look, definitely not the ideal for a guy who makes a living making no major mistakes.
After a rocky 2014, the Irish hope to have stabilized their battery with the move of DeShone Kizer to holder. But with rookie kicker Justin Yoon about the take over the placekicking duties and second-year punter Tyler Newsome getting his first experience, the special teams won’t lack interest.
Let’s take a closer look at the guy who starts the process.
6’1.5″, 250 lbs.
Senior, No. 61, LS
Daly received multiple scholarship offers before choosing Notre Dame, telling you pretty much all you need to know about a roster position that is often handled by walk-ons or cross-training offensive linemen.
Daly was national long snapper of the year according to Chris Rubio and 247 had him ranked second. He chose the Irish over Northwestern and a handful of other schools that offered scholarships.
Freshman Season (2011): Did not see action. Redshirted.
Sophomore Season (2012): Played in all 13 games, snapping for field goals and punts. Made two special teams tackles as well.
Junior Season: Played in all 13 games, snapping for punts, field goals and extra points.
WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR
There was no skating under the radar in 2014, though we’ll get to why we don’t think the issue was Daly’s.
The only time you’ll notice Daly is when he’s not doing his job. So for Daly’s sake, here’s hoping he’s a guy that skates below the radar for the next three seasons. It may be redundant, but making sure your scholarship long snapper can serve as your long snapper in every phase is important.
That wasn’t always the case with Cowart, who lost some snaps as a junior when he served only as a short-snapper, and also suffered a self-inflicted hand injury that cost him four games. It takes a unique guy to make it as a specialist in major college or NFL football. You’d be hard-pressed to say you have an idea what Daly’s ceiling is. But the stability the Irish have now feels like a long way from Notre Dame’s coaches pulling Johnny Crowther out of the dorm leagues to snap.
Daly has proven himself worthy of a scholarship, especially if he spends four seasons snapping cleanly. And the fact Notre Dame’s recruiting machine includes a long-snapper in the 2016 class, they still clearly believe in Daly.
But outside of that, it’s too hard to predict if Daly will be one of the lucky few niche players who turn snapping into a long NFL career.
(Other than that, we’re talking about a long snapper. This is outside of my area of expertise, minus “good snap, bad snap,” though serving as a part-time holder in high school makes it sound like I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.)
It’s worth noting that on Daly’s official UND.com profile, they take great pains to point out that Daly “executed quality snaps on all 52 of his point after attempts, 24 field goal attempts and 51 punts.” (Doing the math, that’s every snap.)
It’s hard to interpret that in any way other than, “NOT HIS FAULT.”
Daly will need to continue that consistency, especially when every other piece of the special teams puzzle will be a new one. So while there’ll likely be a few rocky periods to 2015, expect the battery not to be the problem.
THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB