BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – In the age of social media, it’s possible more people would recognize Dan Godsil for what he’s done with a trash can than for what he’s done as a four-year football starter in the Big Ten.
A video of him snapping a football into a trash can from a deck three stories above the field at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium one day after practice got almost 15,000 views when the Big Ten Network posted it earlier this year.
The former All-Western Buckeye League linebacker and long snapper at Ottawa-Glandorf High School is not a household name, which is the life of a long snapper.
Actually, having a low profile is a good thing. As long as things are going well, long snappers fly under the radar.
And Godsil has been darn near perfect in his four seasons of snapping the football on Indiana’s punts, field goals and extra points. He will be handling those duties when Indiana plays at Ohio State on Saturday.
Godsil’s success on the field has attracted some attention beyond just the internet views. Phil Steele named him a preseason first-team All-American at long snapper in his nationally circulated college football preview magazine.
He was voted first-team All-Western Buckeye League at linebacker after a senior season in which he had 90 tackles and nine sacks for O-G.
His hope was to play linebacker in college. But the only NCAA Division I offers he got were to be a preferred walk-on. That’s when he began to think about throwing the ball backward instead of throwing running backs for losses.
“I was playing linebacker and I was trying to get recruited as a linebacker. One of the camps I went to they were asking people if they could long snap and afterward I went to my dad and said, ‘Why don’t I try long snapping?’ because he used to do it,” Godsil said.
“I didn’t even know you could be a long snapper and earn a scholarship for that basically until my senior year of high school. It’s everyone’s goal to get to this kind of level and this was my way of getting here.”
His dad, Dave Godsil, was a defensive lineman at the University of Dayton in the 1980s who also did some long snapping.
Dave Godsil’s brother Matt was a long snapper at Ottawa-Glandorf and Dan’s older brother Patrick did a little of it when the family lived in the Buckeye Valley School district before moving back to Ottawa.
“He just taught me in the back yard. I went to a few camps and did it my senior year of high school and it all worked out,” Dan Godsil said about his dad.
One of those camps was pivotal in Godsil getting the chance to have a major college football career.
“I came to a specialists camp to snap at Indiana and Coach (Kevin) Wilson, the previous coach, liked what he saw and recruited me and said if I did that I could play here. I showed up and it all worked out,” Godsil said.
Former Indiana assistant coach James Patton, an Allen East graduate, was the first coach at the camp to watch Godsil. After a few snaps he brought Wilson over to take a look.
Wilson, now the co-offensive coordinator at Ohio State with Ryan Day, proceeded to measure Godsil’s mettle along with his skill.
“They were timing his snaps and Wilson liked what he was doing,” Dave Godsil said.
“He got nose to nose with him and said, ‘OK, Ohio boy. We’re in the Horseshoe, we’ve got the lead and we’ve got to punt the ball out of the end zone. I want to see you not snap the ball over the guy’s head. He did three snaps and was right on the money and Wilson said ‘That’s pretty impressive,’ and walked away.”
Godsil came to Indiana without the promise of a scholarship because it offered him the chance to play in the Big Ten. But during his freshman season he was put on scholarship and has been ever since.
Unlike some smaller or less athletic long snappers, the 235-pound Godsil’s assignment after he snaps the ball on punts is to be a tackler if a chance to do that arises.
His biggest hit came against a Purdue returner in 2015 as did another memorable take down.
“My freshman year against Purdue I had kind of a bang-bang hit where he caught it and I instantly hit him. That was pretty cool,” Godsil said. “And my first tackle ever, that was a pretty memorable one. That was against Ohio State. I tackled Jalin Marshall. That was a pretty good feeling, being from Ohio and a lot of family and friends were there.”
Every NFL team carries a long snapper on its roster, so Godsil hopes one of those spots will belong to him next year.
If the NFL Combine includes snapping a football into a trash can, he’s got that covered.
“We were just kind of messing around and then it just blew up on social media sites,” Godsil said about the trash can video.
“I’d never done that before, that was just messing around. I just went up there and tried it and it went in. That was pretty lucky. It took about five tries and I got it in,” he said.