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The walls of Highland’s weight room were once filled with the record lifts of former athletes.The school has since taken them down, but Daniels numbers would definitely have been on display.But he stuck with the Tartans and diligently worked on perfecting his craft.“Don’t go running away just because, ‘oh it might be easier for me there,’” Daniels said of switching schools.“Because if I can do it, and I was far from the most athletic guy on the team, regardless of what anybody says.Every year I was not the most athletic person on that team, but I just outworked everybody.” And outwork them he did.The once slender 145-pound high school freshman is now 6 foot, 310 pounds and the starting defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers.However, Daniels’ path to the NFL wasn’t exactly paved, especially playing high school football for one of the most putrid programs the state has to offer.
“We’ve been one of the bottom tier football programs in the state, but I say Highland Regional High School because I want the kids that are going to Highland now, the kids who are going to Lewis or Glen Landing, or even Mullen, that may end up at Highland, I want them to know take pride in where you’re from,” he said matter-of-factly. He was a four-year letterman in track and field, and lettered three times in wrestling.Mike Daniels’ strolls to practice are a tad different now.He’s traded fiddling with a combination lock on his light blue locker at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, N. for a spacious, stately wooden locker at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin.But, it was football that always seemed to be the sport attached closest with his name.He was a team captain twice and lettered three times as a defensive lineman and running back.
Upon graduating high school in 2007, Daniels bulked up to a lean 215 pounds, but even that was still a far cry from the 310-pound behemoth he is today.