Aquinas senior Aaron McDaniels plays in the Hawaii Tiki Bowl soccer game

Aaron McDaniels will have his Hawaiian Tiki Bowl jersey framed.

That’s how memorable was Aquinas’ senior’s trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.

McDaniels was one of four players from New York and was recommended by local coaches for the All-Star Football Game. He’s hoping his left tackle play for Team Kekoa (Warrior) in the game will boost his college recruitment.

The lineman, a Rochester resident, has yet to make a college commitment. He has received interest from St. Francis, Valparaiso, Edinboro, Ithaca, Catholic, Alleghany, Lehigh and Stonehill.

“I’ve played with really great players,” said McDaniels. “It didn’t end the way we wanted, but it was still a great experience playing in Hawaii.”

Hawaiian Tiki Bowl

The final game of the Tiki Bowl is what McDaniels remembers most vividly.

Team Kekoa’s three-star defenseman lined up at the tight end and caught a 25-yard leaping touchdown reception.

“We blocked well because we knew it was our last hooray of the game,” said McDaniels.

Aaron McDaniels spent most of his football career at Aquinas playing offensive tackle.  He started in two Section V championship games and was a 2021 second-team Class AA All-Star.

The Tiki Bowl formed three teams from the almost 100 selected players. Teams were coached by college staff, and each team played one half against another team.

McDaniels played left tackle and refereed some of the nation’s best defenders, some of whom were Power Five recruits. He also quickly learned the complex college lockdown schemes.

“I was happy with that,” said McDaniels. “My main goal was to play well against top players across the country.”