Notre Dame’s fifth-year long snapper has been all that the Irish staff hoped for when they offered him a scholarship. After saving a year of eligibility behind Jordan Coward, Daly has played in 39 consecutive games with a final season on tap in 2016 before turning over the reins to incoming freshman John Shannon.
While the kick operation hasn’t always been smooth (2014’s roller-coaster with Kyle Brindza and a variety of holders), Daly’s shown a remarkable consistency and been able to handle both short and long snaps. His expertise was a big reason why new specialists Justin Yoon and Tyler Newsome both had excellent seasons.
6’1.5″, 250 lbs.
GS, 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 (2012): Did not see action. Redshirted.
Sophomore Season (2013): Played in all 13 games, snapping for field goals and punts. Made two special teams tackles as well.
Junior Season (2014): Played in all 13 games, snapping for punts, field goals and extra points.
Senior Season (2015): Played in all 13 games, handling snaps for punts, field goals and extra points. Made one tackle and recovered a fumble on special teams.
WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR
It seems that faith in Daly wasn’t a question—not just from me, but the Irish coaching staff (and sports information department).
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.
It’s hard to get too colorful when discussing the upside of a long snapper, but Daly sure is a good one. If he’s interested in chasing a professional career, he’ll likely have that opportunity—his versatility and consistency will warrant a training camp invitation. He might be a good low-cost option for an NFL team to consider.
While we’ve taken it for granted, Notre Dame’s ability to hit on good scholarship specialists has been key. We’re a long way from the days of multiple kickers and punters taking scholarships because of swings and misses, like the logjam Brian Kelly inherited.
With Yoon and Newsome returning, it should be a banner year for Notre Dame’s specialists and their kicking operation. Daly will be at his best when we don’t notice him. So consider this an endorsement for the invisible long snapper.
That should be the ultimate compliment.
2016’s Irish A-to-Z