Sept. 1, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
Time has shown Prince “PJ” Daniels Jr. to be creative and determined, and with that in mind perhaps it won’t come as a surprise that the former Georgia Tech running back is about to debut as an author.
His climb up the depth chart in 2003, when he rushed for 1,447 yards – including 307 yards and four touchdowns in a Humanitarian Bowl win over Tulsa – was a story in perseverance worthy of a book itself.
A year earlier, after all, he was seventh or so on the Tech depth chart.
So, when, “Danny Yukon and The Secrets of the Amazing Lamp,” comes out in the next couple weeks, Daniels, 31, will once again have seemingly come out of nowhere to taking a leading role.
He has co-authored a children’s book about one of his personal and professional passions – meditation – to help teach young people, “how to cope with their lives.”
This is an outgrowth of Daniels’ business.
A few years ago, he and former Texas A&M football player Jason Carter – who he met while working out in preparation for the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine — founded San Diego’s Carter-Prince Evolutionary Fitness
Theirs is a multi-platform shop offering fitness training for a wide variety of clients, plus motivational speaking, and instruction on meditation.
Daniels remains a bachelor and has no children, yet he frequently works with kids and with his first book he’s hopes to reach many more through the primary character, Danny Yukon.
“He is a young ethnic kid who lost his father in the military, and he is trying to cope,” Daniels said. “He’s a chatter box, and he had to learn how to overcome the sorrow that he fell into because of the loss of his father, and face his fears.
“The main thing is to give people a chance to hear their inner thoughts, and de-stress and relax. It’s also to get a chance to see a lot of things that are going on in your life. It’s more reflection. I do that with the athletes whom I train, clients I train and in motivational speeches.”
Injuries short-circuited Daniels’ brief NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, and when he left the game in 2008, he went – for lack of better terms – off the grid and came to grips with the help of meditation.
He explained his unique path to RamblinwWeck.com in May, 2013 shortly before earning a degree from Tech that he completed after petitioning The Hill to let him take final courses through the University of San Diego.
“I took a sabbatical for about a year after I left the NFL, and that helped,” said the Houston native. “I went to the mountains, the Ozarks, and meditated. The longest I was there was a month, but I would go back and forth and talk to my guru.
“He sees the bigger picture. He keeps me on track with the mental and the spiritual. I take care of the physical. We’re on an infinite journey; if you stay true to your inner self, you’ll be able to fulfill your purpose on Earth.”
Daniels had help with his literary project, which he plans to continue with a series of childrens’ book.
He took the idea to his friend Mike Sager, a noted magazine writer and author who started his own publishing house of sorts, The Sager Group. The book will be distributed through Amazon among other outlets.
Co-author Pamela Hill Nettleton and illustrator Liza Biggers worked with Daniels to make it happen.
He stays in touch with many former Tech teammates, including Calvin Johnson, Michael Johnson, Cord Howard, James Butler, Eric Henderson and more while saying, “We check on each other from time to time. We’re like a big family.”
With this book and others to follow, Daniels hopes to help families far and wide.
“The story is about teaching kids how to meditate, but also that they are the genie,” he explained. “The character stumbles upon this lamp, and the lamp helps him facilitate his powers within himself to overcome his fears, and build confidence in himself . . .
“The power is within you, and I use the lamp for kids to help facilitate those powers within themselves. I’m always inspiring people to believe that anything is possible if you believe it.”
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