Devin Cossman and Tony Daniels arrived in Kansas at just the right time.
The two seniors transfers, who play a mix of running back and receiver for the Manhattan High football team, are here one year after the Indians graduated most of their skill players from a season ago.
That fact, combined with their speed and skill on the field, has allowed them to come in and immediately contribute for the Indians this season.
“Typically, kids that move in that are seniors, they only have one year so they typically don’t get a ton of playing time,” MHS head coach Joe Schartz said. “So it’s a credit to both of them that they were able to weather that transitional stage.
“And they’re still getting better everyday at practice. Hopefully they continue to get better this season and finish strong.”
Both senior transfers are expected to play both ways, at least some of the time, for Manhattan, though Schartz expects their roles to increase as the season goes on.
“We are definitely short in numbers at our skill positions,” he said. “So the more they get adjusted and learn the offense, the better off they’re going to be. They have the speed and talent that we can use in a lot of different spots, whether at the running back spot or the receiver spots.”
For Cossman, Kansas is his third stop after beginning his career in Oklahoma and playing his junior year down in Texas.
Needless to say, he’s used to the challenges that come with changing schools as a football player.
“It hasn’t really been that hard, it’s just been work learning a new offense and defense, because this is my second time moving to another school in the last year,” Cossman said. “But I’ve been playing varsity since I was a freshman at my old school in Oklahoma. So I’ve learned this stuff before.”
Cossman said adjusting to new environments and making new friends comes naturally to him.
“It really does come natural, but sometimes it’s hard when you first get there, it’s kind of awkward and you don’t know anybody,” he said. “But then after a while, people see that you’re good at sports and a good guy, so it’s not too hard.”
For Daniels, his move was more than just switching schools. He transferred from Detroit, Mich., a far different place than Manhattan.
“I like it,” Daniels said. “It’s a good experience to learn and everything. It’s a very new experience.”
Daniels said the biggest adjustment for him has been the weather.
“Back in Michigan, there’s thin air, it’s easy to breathe,” he said. “Down here it’s really dry. So at practice it’s hard to breathe, and we don’t get much of a breeze either.”
When asked about their best attributes on the field, both young men said their speed. Cossman is listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, while Daniels comes in at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds. Rest assured, both of them are fast.
In the opening win against Mill Valley, Daniels broke away from his defender for a 33-yard touchdown reception from Jacob Holloway. Both players saw plenty of action defensively, helping guard against the Jaguars’ passing attack.
Schartz said he is impressed with the way both players have adjusted to completely new environments.
“It’s always a difficult transition for people to come into a new program, even if you are a very good football player, which both of these guys have the talent,” he said. “The transitional period is rough. Just to get to know the coaches, to get to know the other players, it takes time. I’d have to say both of them have done really well in that aspect.”
Schartz said many players never quite adjust.
“There have been a lot of kids move in that haven’t been able to make the transition,” he said. “Not because they don’t have the talent as a football player, but it’s just tough as a human being.”
In the case of these veteran transfers, making it to Manhattan in a year when they can immediately contribute has been a win-win for everyone involved.