SOUTH BEND, Ind. — For the first time in months, they returned to campus. Former Notre Dame football players DaVaris Daniels and Kendall Moore, who hadn't played in an actual game on campus since Nov. 2013, made their way back to campus this week for Notre Dame's pro day, the next step on their journey toward NFL goals.
Daniels and Moore, who missed the 2014 season as part of Notre Dame's academic investigation, worked out in front of representatives from 28 NFL teams Tuesday inside the Loftus Sports Center.
"It's a difficult situation, man," Daniels said. "I don't hold any grudges. I just don't really like thinking about the situation, what happened, how long it took and all that stuff. It is what it is. At this point, I'm ready for the NFL. And that's my focus.”
As a junior wide receiver in 2013, Daniels finished second on the Irish with 46 receptions, 720 yards and seven scores. The Vernon Hills, Illinois, product was slated to be Notre Dame's top target in 2014.
Moore, meanwhile, was set for his fifth year in South Bend and said he was expecting a "breakout" season after tallying 37 tackles in 39 games through three seasons as a reserve linebacker and special teamer.
But unlike their former Notre Dame teammates, who had played their final home game in late November and practiced for the final time in December, Daniels and Moore were last associated with football on campus from a coaching perspective.
The best friends coached a women's-dorm flag-football team on campus during the fall semester. The season ended in November. Daniels and Moore then relocated to Chicago to train.
Daniels scored an invite to the NFL combine in February, and Moore played in the College Gridiron Showcase in late January. Tuesday's workout was just the latest on-field job interview.
|DaVaris Daniels||Kendall Moore|
|40-Yard Dash||4.57 seconds||4.63 seconds|
|Vertical Jump||39 1/2 inches||32 1/2 inches|
|Source: Notre Dame Sports Information|
"I was trying to run as fast as I could, show some versatility athletically, and overall, I'm happy with my day," Moore said.
Daniels said he'll now turn his focus toward getting into real football shape, drawing a distinction from what's necessary to perform in combine-like settings. Daniels said his experience at the combine revealed the need for improvement across the board. He's been watching film of former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, for instance, in a widespread effort to polish his game.
The combine ended a long layoff for Daniels away from organized football work. Daniels checked in with 13 reps on the bench press and a 4.62-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis.
"It was the first thing back for me for a long time. I don't really ever get nervous, but I can tell that was probably my first time getting nervous since seventh grade," Daniels said, recalling a football championship game. "It was wild."
While Daniels has a lengthier resume filled with starting experience, Moore admitted that it's "pretty challenging" knowing that he must prove himself elsewhere to get a chance.
"But a lot of people have seen flashes throughout my time here and had some good plays, showed a lot of good things on special teams along with some good defensive plays," Moore said. "So I'm pretty excited to hopefully get a shot, get into a team, be able to get some minutes and be able to show what I can do."
Moore said his last few months at Notre Dame made him mentally tougher.
"I don't think that anything can compare to the last couple months," Moore said. "Mentally, I'm pretty solid. Right now, I'm just ready to get on to this next step. We'll see what happens from here."
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.