Danny Friend is the 2012 Morris Daily Herald All-Area Football Player of the Year. To learn why, read the story I wrote on him in today's paper.
There were a couple of places my conversations with Friend and with Morris coaches Alan Thorson and John Courter went that I wasn't able to work into the story. I'll share them here instead.
Since I focused the feature on Friend's 2012 season with the Redskins, I didn't talk much about the next stop in his football journey — Indiana University. It's a subject that Courter, the Redskins' defensive coordinator, spoke about quite a bit to illustrate his point that Friend could play defensively at the next level. Indiana recruited Friend as a tight end.
"A lot of colleges were looking at him as an offensive tackle. Some were looking at him as an offensive tight end. Only a few — two, really — were looking at him for defense, which was quite surprising to me," Courter said. "He is quick on his feet and has a good, solid frame. I was surprised that he wasn't going to go somewhere and play defense."
Long before Friend committed to the Hoosiers in July, he had Courter playing the role of salesman on his behalf.
"Whenever a coach would wander through, and I didn't get to talk to a lot of college coaches, but when I did, I would tell them that he could be a great defensive player," Courter said.
In the wake of a senior season for which Friend was named Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, he says there is still a possibility of him playing defense for the Hoosiers.
"If Indiana wants to play me on defense, I'm not going to tell them no," Friend said. "I'm assuming that when I get down there, they'll tell me what they want me to do."
The other article gets into Friend's role in the run-heavy offense the Redskins used this season. It mentions how willing Friend was to accept his rather anonymous role in it. But Friend was not just willing to accept the role of blocker for the Morris running backs, he was a fan of their throwback offense.
"I love it. I'm kind of speaking for the rest of the team, but we love it. We take pride in our T-formation and just being able to overpower people," Friend said.
"I think on offense we definitely proved we could run the ball. People really underestimated what we could do, and I think we proved our doubters wrong. Especially with Reese (Sobol) having the season he did coming off an injury. Then you had Jeff (Perry) and Collin (Grogan), who could both run people over."
One obvious question for a two-way standout like Friend is to ask which side of the ball he prefers. Friend said he likes both, which is pretty common among prep athletes. Even after I pressed him a bit further on it, Friend declined to hint at a preference.
"I like scoring touchdowns. That's always fun," he said. "But getting a big sack is huge, too."