Before the 2018 football season began, Daeton McGaughy was already helping to set the tone for a new-look Lafayette Fighting Irish team.
Lafayette coach Eric McDowell praised him as one of the team’s hardest workers. Coming into his first year as a starter, the junior had big shoes to fill both as the Irish’s new quarterback and safety.
The hard work paid off.
On Thursday, McGaughy announced that he was committing to South Dakota State to play Division I football as a safety.
“The family environment, the way they treated my parents and just the way they treated everybody,” McGaughy said. “I love it there.”
Over the past few months, McGaughy has been busy with the recruiting process. His first Div. I offer came from Northern Iowa.
“It was obviously a surreal feeling for me and my family,” McGaughy said. “When I got that first offer, that was big for me. I was very emotional about it and so was my family. I just can’t thank all the schools enough that recruited me.”
After taking a few visits, the decision wasn’t quite as difficult.
McGaughy knew he wanted to be a Jackrabbit and join a program that has a 21-6 record over the past two seasons playing in the Missouri Valley Football Conference which has been the best in the FCS over the last decade.
“It’s been pretty stressful,” McGaughy said. “A lot of praying and a lot of talks with my parents but I feel like I made the best choice in the end.”
During his first season as Lafayette’s quarterback, McGaughy showcased his athleticism and football acumen, eclipsing 3,000 yards of total offense while scoring 40 touchdowns. He also shored up the backend of the Irish’s defense as a safety.
Going into the season, he knew he was primed for a big season and took that responsibility on his shoulders.
“I had to grow up and be a leader,” McGaughy said. “That was big for me. Bringing 50 dudes out and rallying the troops. I feel like that was something I improved on.”
McGaughy and the Irish went 7-3 last fall. With his commitment now out of the way, he just hopes to continue improving and helping the North Siders win as many football games as they can this fall during his senior campaign.
“That’s what me and the coaching staff up there talked about,” McGaughy said. “They just want me to have a good senior season and not stress about anything and be the player that they know I can be. We know we can do something this year and it’s big for all of us. Winning every day, that’s our goal.”