ASHLAND, Ore. — There is a certain set of stereotypes in the game of football; violence, toughness and intensity. Daniel Breaux is not your stereotypical football player.
“That’s why I draw smiley faces on my wrist tape,” said Breaux. “Just to remind myself that what I’m doing is fun and I have an opportunity to do it.”
Smiley faces are not what you’d expect from a 6’3″, 240-pound defensive end.
“Don’t mistake his kindness for weakness because it’s not,” said defensive coordinator Berk Brown. “He gets in between the lines and he’ll get after you.”
That’s when he’s on the field, but it’s a different story off the field.
“Off the field he’s a comedian,” said head coach Craig Howard. “He could be a standup comic.”
“He’s such a goofball off the field,” said Brown.
Daniel the goofball made his presence known right away at SOU, on his recruiting trip. After finising a speech to recruits about the university, Athletic Director Matt Sayre asked if anyone had any questions.
“Daniel’s hand goes up of course. I said, ‘yeah?’ He said, ‘What do you put in your hair?’ That’s what he asks me,” said Sayre. “What do you put in your hair? I go, ‘Sign this kid. Wherever you’re at, sign this kid.’ That was the first time I ever met Daniel.”
Little did they know they were signing more than just a great athlete. Daniel volunteers in a number of university organizations. He was elected Senator of Athletics in SOU’s student government, and he volunteers at the Southern Oregon Humane Society.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do because I get to be with problem dogs that wouldn’t normally get to be considered adoptable,” said Breaux. “I get to work with them. I get to train them.”
It’s just one of the many things Breaux does that he doesn’t get credit for. It doesn’t show up in a box score. It’s just a mutual therapy for him and the animal.
“I get to make them like people again,” said Breaux.
There may not be a better ambassador. Everyone likes Daniel Breaux.
“I think Coach uses the word ‘love’ more than any football coach I’ve ever heard, and I think Daniel’d be right there with him,” said Sayre.
“There’s just certain peope, they’ve got an inherent ability to be leaders,” said Howard. “I saw that in him when I was recruiting him.”
“To me it really is making the most out of what I’m given, all the opportunities I’m given, really making sure I’m doing things that are going to improve myself so I can be the best version of myself that I can be when I come out of here,” said Breaux.