In 2011, Daniels earned first team All-ACC and second team All-America honors after leading Duke in tackles with 126. Third in the balloting for ACC Defensive Player of the Year accolades, he ranked third in the conference in tackles per game (10.5) while becoming the first Duke safety to receive first team all-league honors since Ray Farmer did so in 1995. Following the season, Daniels represented Duke in the 2012 East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Matt Daniels is everything a professional football team, a college football team, a high school football team, a junior college football team would be looking for," Duke head coach David Cutcliffesaid. "He's the total package, a great person, great student, great football player. The reason pro football people have liked him all along is he's a great tackler, gets his hands on the ball a lot on the secondary and rarely misses a tackle. He tackles the way you wanted people to tackle 50 years ago. He's a great contact player and a guy that they're gonna be able to count on."
Daniels, who served as a team captain in 2011, played in 46 career games and compiled totals of 324 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, seven caused fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 27 pass breakups. On Duke's all-time records charts, he ranks 13th in tackles, third in caused fumbles and tied for sixth in pass breakups.
"I'm extremely proud of Matt, extremely happy for him," Cutcliffe said. "Stay injury-free and play a lot of years, young man. He could be a great football coach. I would love to see Matt pursue that career because he is a very, very special young man."
A native of Fayetteville, Ga., Daniels will graduate from Duke on May 13 with a degree in public policy studies. He was named to the Academic All-ACC squad three times during his career.