Year: Redshirt Junior
Hometown: Wytheville, Va
For many Virginia fans, Daniel Hamm’s shining moment came seemingly out of nowhere when he rushed for 136 yards and 2 touchdown in the Hoos’ blowout of VMI in 2013. Essentially, Hamm single-handedly turned a terrible game into a fun experience for the fans. (You may recall that the game was scoreless after the first quarter.) Sadly, Hamm tore a pectoral muscle the following week and missed the rest of the season. He was granted a medical redshirt, which is why he is only a junior.
The following year, Hamm played mostly special teams, but did rush for 75 yards on 17 carries and had a 10 yard reception. Last year, Hamm actually started twice, but still finished 4th on the team in rushing. All told, Hamm has rushed for 475 yards on 97 carries (4.7 ypc) and has 16 receptions for 195 yards (12.2 ypc).
Hamm actually came to Virginia as a track athlete, where he’d been a 2 time state champion in the triple jump. He’s still on the Virginia track & field team, though he hasn’t competed much since joining the football team. As you’d expect for a track athlete, Hamm possesses great speed. Translating that speed to the football field hasn’t always been easy for track athletes, and Hamm is in a similar position.
There isn’t a great recruiting video for Hamm, largely because he wasn’t really recruited. His Hudl page includes a few games from his senior year, but because these are just regular game highlights, Hamm isn’t circled like most recruits are in their highlight films. Hamm is #24.
Mostly, what we can get from these videos is that Hamm is fast, although we knew that already. But we also see him running through tackles and dragging defenders down the field. In high school, Hamm was a stronger runner than he’s given credit for, though those skills may not translate at this level. But at over 200 pounds, he’s big enough to run between the tackles, and unlike Smoke Mizzell, who tends to cut and scramble to get the ball moving, Hamm wants to get going north-south as soon as possible and just keep going as long as he can.
There are a few plays within the videos that highlight Hamm’s receiving ability, including a long downfield over the shoulder reception. The final play in the Grayson County film above shows Hamm coming back to QB on a scramble and making a nice catch along the sideline. Though Hamm isn’t likely to get many opportunities on third downs — not with the best receiving RB in ACC history on the team — he is a good receiver and could be useful to this team as a pass receiver out of the backfield. Perhaps Offensive Coordinator and Inside Receivers Coach Robert Anae has something drawn up with Smoke and Hamm together in the backfield. Or maybe Smoke will be split out at times with Hamm in the backfield.
Below is a feature video on Hamm and his performance in that VMI game. Again, there isn’t a ton to learn from this video, but we see Hamm getting north-south and picking up yards as quickly as possible. We also see him reading his blocks well, which is an important skill in the spread offense, where runners are often asked to run to daylight.