Scholar Athlete: Daniel Huffines

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cathedral High School defensive back Daniel Huffines reacts to a play during the Green Wave’s practice Wednesday afternoon. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School senior Daniel Huffines has always made sure to take care of his A, B and Cs before moving on to his Xs and Os.

The Green Wave’s three-sport athlete said his parents, Lisa and Danny, enforced academics over athletics from an early age.

“I had a good upbringing,” Huffines said. “My parents taught me grades before activities. Since elementary school I had to bring home the right (results on my) report card.”

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Huffines plays football, basketball and baseball for Cathedral, but said he does not have much trouble balancing sports and school.

“It’s not hard if you have your priorities straight,” he said. “You just have to make time for it, and know what you have to do.”

Huffines current schedule consists of school in the morning, football practice in the afternoon, dinner and school work in the evening and a much-needed full night sleep before he gets up and does it again the next day, he said.

Cathedral football coach Ron Rushing said Huffines ability to take care of his business on and off the field is impressive.

“He’s the definition of a student athlete,” Rushing said.

This season Huffines will add the role of leader on the field to his already full plate.

“All the seniors have to step into the leadership role, and help lead the team to another great season,” he said.

Huffines is a wide receiver and defensive back for the Green Wave.

He said getting a taste of playoff play last season is his biggest athletic achievement so far in his career, but he hopes to create more this season.

“Playing in the playoffs is a whole different atmosphere,” he said.

Off the field, Huffines maintains an A average and said he is proud of that achievement, especially after making it through a difficult junior year.

“(Junior year) was an all-around tough year,” he said.

Huffines said keeping grades up is important for every athlete, and that is why education is so important.

“One day football will be over for everybody,” he said. “When it’s over that’s where education kicks in.”

Huffines said his family’s support has been a major factor in his athletic and academic development.

“I have real supportive parents through the ups and downs,” he said. “(My family) have all been there for me since Dixie Youth. I always had the biggest crowd, since my family supported me, and that was real motivating.”

Huffines said his sisters Anna, Kaitlin and Laura have always been there to support him along with his parents.

Although Huffines does not have any idea where he will go to school next fall, he knows he wants to play sports and go to a school where he can major in physical therapy, he said.

For his senior year he hopes to maintain his high GPA and do well on the ACT to give himself more college opportunities, he said.