Dan Andrews Smashes Records, Eyes the Future
Dan Andrews ’17 was ready to give up football.
Despite being the talk of high school coaches in the city of Rochester throughout his senior season, he was barely on the radar of college football programs.
The University at Buffalo expressed preliminary interest in Andrews walking on (trying out without a scholarship) to its Division I team but then backed off. A Division II school in New Jersey was interested in the talented running back, but they only wanted him to play defense. And none of the Division III schools in the Rochester area seemed interested at all.
Frustrated, Andrews was leaning toward attending Niagara University — a school without a football program. Then his phone rang. Aaron Zurn, a former assistant coach at The College at Brockport, was on the other end. He wanted to know if Andrews was still available.
Four years and 4,755 yards later, Andrews is winding down his collegiate career as the all-time leading rusher in the history of Golden Eagles football. Giving up the game he loves is no longer something he’s considering. His sights are now set on playing the game professionally.
“I believe I have a chance,” said Andrews, who has had several National Football League teams — most recently the Washington Redskins — reach out to his Brockport coaches in an effort to scout his game film.
A chance is all Andrews has ever wanted.
He was one of only 19 players on Franklin High School’s varsity football team. Half of his high school senior game film, which Andrews said contained his best three games, got lost due to a technical glitch. But the remaining film was more than enough for Brockport head coach Jason Mangone.
“After two clips we turned it off. It was all we needed to see. He was a one-man show,” Mangone said. “I don’t know why other schools chose not to recruit him, but he probably received the highest grade of any recruit we’ve scouted in the last five years.”
It didn’t take long for Mangone’s faith to be validated. Andrews first stepped into the starting lineup in the fifth game of his freshman season after senior Tyrone Nichols ’15 went down with an injury. His first carry went for a 63-yard touchdown. He finished the game with five touchdowns and more than 300 yards rushing.
“That’s when I realized how good our offensive line was,” Andrews said with a smile. “I shocked myself that game. It was a great feeling.”
Andrews, who is a sport management major, has been dominant ever since. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons. His junior season, he rushed for 1,310 yards (the third most in school history) and scored 24 rushing touchdowns. At the end-of-season banquet, Andrews learned he was within striking distance of the school’s all-time rushing record, which was set by Adam Rodger ’99/’03 in 1998.
Mangone was the quarterback of that team.
“Adam reached out to me the day [Andrews] broke it,” Mangone said. “A lot of my old teammates did. They knew how good Adam was, so for someone to break that record in the first game of his senior year? That spoke volumes to those guys.”
Count Rodger among those impressed.
“Dan is an outstanding individual and it has been a pleasure to watch him. He’s the complete package,” said Rodger, who is now an assistant principal at Edison Tech, a Rochester high school. “I’m proud that he came from the city of Rochester. The record stays home.”
With two games to go in Brockport’s regular season, Andrews’ record total now stands at 4,755 yards. His season total of 1,019 yards sits 636 yards back of the school single season record of 1,655 that Garet Lynch ’10 set in 2008.
But Andrews’ mind isn’t on records. He says he’s focused on a successful finish to Brockport’s season. Then he’ll begin preparing for a chance to play professional football. He’s been invited to participate in the National Bowl, an all-star game for college seniors, on December 4. Professional scouts will have a chance to observe him in practice and during the game.
While making the jump from NCAA Division III to the NFL isn’t common, it’s not impossible. The NFL recently expanded its offseason rosters, allowing teams to take a chance on players from schools at the lower levels. Mangone says 23 Division III players were on NFL rosters last spring.
“This all-star game will be my chance to get in front of people and prove what I can do,” Andrews said. “I didn’t think this would happen to me when I came here. But people believed in me…my coaches, my teammates, and my family.”
Mangone’s belief is as strong as ever.
“Hopefully this all-star game will give him the platform he needs,” Mangone said. “He has the size, elusiveness, and the God-given ability to do something special.”