May 15, 2024

Hogan: Catching Up With a Pair of Receivers

GUELPH, ON - MAY 12: Players participate in the first day of the Toronto Argonauts training camp on Sunday, May 12 at Alumni Stadium in Guelph, Ontario. (Credit: Christian Bender/Toronto Argos)

One was a star at Notre Dame, the other a two-year starter at Idaho. One burst onto the scene in Calgary by winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie Award, the other fought for reps in the first three years of his career in Hamilton. DaVaris Daniels and David Ungerer III now line up as starters at the Toronto Argonauts training camp at the University of Guelph, each looking to improve on the best individual seasons of their careers.

Last season Daniels cracked the 1,000-yard plateau for the first time in his seven CFL seasons, while in his first year in Double Blue, while Ungerer blew away his previous mark of 16 catches for 225 yards by catching 41 passes for 549 yards. That’s helped him arrive at camp with a major increase in confidence.

“I’m very comfortable now,” he told Argonauts.ca following Tuesday’s practice. “I feel completely different coming out here as a second-year Argo than a first year. Last year it was do everything I possibly can to make the team. Now it’s do everything I can to help the team be the best it possibly can be.”

So far so good. In the fist two days of camp the Pullman, Washington native has arguably been the most effective receiver, hauling in several passes each day at short, intermediate and deep depths. While he’s caught passes from quarterbacks Bryan Scott and Hunter Raquet, he seems to have the most natural chemistry with Cameron Dukes, the presumed starter.

“First of all, we’re good friends,” Ungerer explained. “We get along really well and have a lot of things in common. We enjoy each other’s company and when you have a good relationship that always helps on the field.”

“I think we’re both similar players at our individual positions. We’re both undersized guys (Ungerer is 5’9”, Dukes 6’1”) who maybe don’t have the biggest arm, or the most speed, or the attributes that make you go ‘Wow,’ but we know how to play the game. I think just having reps together and making it happen in games, it’s rep by rep that builds chemistry.”

Conversely, Daniels has the wow factor of which Ungerer spoke. He’s always had good size and a physical presence, but at this stage those attributes are now accompanied by experience. He’s the alpha dog of the group, aware that other receivers look up to him for leadership and advice.

“I love it because it keeps me very, very precise in my work, in my technique, in my craft,” he told Argonauts.ca. “Any way that I can try to perfect that, I’m willing to do it. The guys come up, they’ve got plenty of questions and I want to give them the answers because it just elevates my game and makes me compete at a different level and try some new things in practice just to show them what I’ve got.”

And what exactly does Daniels have that’s so special?

“DaVaris is as good as it gets, he’s such a good dude,” gushed Ungerer. “He leads our group and I think he’s taken it to another level within the first few days we’ve been in camp. He’s being much more vocal about our standard and meeting that standard and holding us accountable as a group. He’s our leader, he’s making sure we’re taking that next step as a group this year.”

It’s not just the leadership element that Daniels brings to the receiving corps.

“On top of that he’s just a great player,” said Ungerer. “He’s very smart. If I need any advice that’s who I’m going to. He’s tough as nails, he’s the whole package, I love DaVaris.”

There’s a strong feeling of mutual admiration between the two.

“The only thing it should say on his scouting report is dawg, straight dawg,” said Daniels of Ungerer. “He’s a hard worker, great teammate, he brings his lunch pail every day. He’s the ultimate professional, I can’t say enough about him.”

 ARGO NOTES: Tuesday’s practice was the first time the full team went in helmets and shoulder pads. It was supposed to run until 12:30, but head coach Ryan Dinwiddie called things off at 11:10…Punter John Haggerty was in fine form again on Tuesday. He was consistently kicking high, deep and outside the numbers…Returning punts during drills were Deonta McMahon, Jordan Byrd, Dejon Brissett, David Ungerer III, and Savon Scarver…Bryan Scott seems to have the corner route down pat. He threw another 40-yard TD pass in “skelly”, hitting Justin Marshall at the goal line for a touchdown. Cameron Dukes threw a deep sideline pass that was caught by Damonte Coxie, another deep post route grabbed by Rasheed Bailey…There were a couple of interceptions during skelly or full scrimmage, one by defensive back Kary Vincent, the other by linebacker Jack Cassar…Starting field corner Tarvarus McFadden switched numbers this year, giving up No. 20 in favour of No. 4. The Florida State product told Argonauts.ca why he switched, “This year I felt like I wanted a little change. I wore this (No. 4) in college…” and one other note, former Argo Jeff Keeping has been named the head coach of his hometown Uxbridge Secondary School Tigers as the school looks to revive its program next season.

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