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Football  . 

Dakereon Joyner Enjoys New Roles On and Off the Field

by Brad Muller

Check out our full conversation with Dakereon Joyner in our Gamecock Talk podcast. Watch on Gamecocks+ or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Dakereon Joyner has played a lot of different roles, and he’ll be doing that again this season, on and off the field. The sixth-year senior started his Gamecock career as a quarterback and has spent the last four years primarily as a wide receiver and return man with a few quarterback plays thrown in there. Now, he’s taking snaps at running back, and perhaps his most important role is that of a father as his daughter, Kahlani Noelle Joyner, was born last February.

“It has been the most beautiful thing,” Joyner said. “God has blessed this into my life. Every day when I wake up and see her face, it’s the best thing ever. I’m grateful, and I love her to death. The best thing about being a dad is that she’s starting to understand I’m her dad, and she smiles at me more. She grabs my beard and smiles at me a lot. I don’t look at it as being hard because everything about it is beautiful.”

Joyner knows all about the importance of being a good parent and being present in the life of a child.

“My mom has had the biggest impact on my life,” Joyner said. “My dad passed away when I was nine. My wisdom, my faith and my strength come from her. She is my hero, for sure. After my dad passed away, I was the man of the house when I was nine years old. I raised my little brother. I had to mature at a very young age. The way my dad loved me and my family, and the kind of dad my dad was, was unbelievable. When my dad passed away, I said, when I have a kid, I’m going to give her the same love so she can grow up and say that I’m the best dad, like I’ve said about my dad.”

Dakereon Joyner 2022 vs Florida
“Eight wins is OK, but we don’t look at that as a really good season. We’re looking to take that next step.”
Dakereon Joyner  . 

He loves his off the field role, and his on the field role continues to evolve. Regardless of his position, his experience and determination make him a leader.

“I guess I am the old guy,” Joyner said with a laugh. “Some of the guys call me ‘Unc,’ like ‘uncle.’ I’m blessed with different opportunities every year.
“I’ve always been a leader, on or off the field, so a lot of guys gravitate toward me. I like to lead by example. I’m a guy who does things right on and off the field. I’m trying to get into a more vocal role.”

Joyner takes change in stride. Moving from quarterback to receiver to running back isn’t as difficult for him as it might be for some.

“I haven’t seen that much of a big difference because I’ve been primarily a running quarterback, so I’ve taken the ground and pound,” Joyner said. “I’ve put on about 15 more pounds. That may have been the biggest change for me.

“The most beneficial thing about having been a quarterback and now being a running back is knowing the protection scheme. Juju McDowell and a lot of other guys have embraced me in that (running back) room. It has helped me a lot. I’m very grateful to them for helping me through that transition. I’m still learning things about the running back position.”

Joyner is excited about playing under first-year offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and expects that the offense will pick up where it left off last season.

“The first word that comes to my mind about this offense is explosive,” Joyner said. “We’ll be able to use all of our players and all of our abilities in this offense. Coach Loggains has been doing a good job of getting us comfortable with it.

“Everybody knows we’re coming. We feel like we haven’t done nearly enough yet. All of our goals are still ahead of us. Expectations are high, and our standards are high. Eight wins is OK, but we don’t look at that as a really good season. We’re looking to take that next step. We’re not sneaking up on anybody this year. The most important thing is to stay healthy. The sky is the limit.”

Joyner already has his degree in sport and entertainment management and later plans to get his master’s degree. He has a lot of different interests, including becoming a lawyer or a nurse or maybe a basketball coach. From what we’ve seen of his ability to multitask as a football player, maybe he can do all three.