Daniel Whitehall has scored a lot of goals in three college seasons.

A lot as in a whopping 70.

The Hastings College forward, his coach says, is working on getting stronger and more explosive this summer.

And if Whitehall enters next fall stronger and more explosive ...

"If he can do that, he's going to be a whole different mess for teams to deal with next year, because his football brain is second to none and his ability to just find spaces and put the ball in the back of the net is already there," Hastings men's soccer coach Aaron Champenoy said.

Whitehall, in 2016, scored 34 goals as a sophomore and was named NAIA national offensive player of the year. The Broncos capped the season with a national championship.

Despite missing six games last fall, Whitehall's scoring pace remained at a high level. He finished with 22 goals, which ranked fifth in the NAIA, and seven assists.

Whitehall is the 2018 Journal Star men's state college athlete of the year.

"You don't get players like that that come around too often," Champenoy said. "And obviously, we've done quite well with him."

What separates Whitehall, who was named a first-team All-American?

Among his many attributes is his vision and his ability to find his teammates, Champenoy said.

"He's a really, really intelligent footballer, and he sees the game, probably two, three, four passes ahead of everybody on the field," Champenoy said. "At first glance, a lot of fans and players look at him and they think he's kind of lazy and he's not really moving on the field, but in all reality, he's that smart. He's just setting you up and finding spaces well before they're even there."

Whitehall, a three-time GPAC offensive player of the year, scored in 12 matches last fall, including a four-goal game, a five-goal game and five game-winning goals. He was limited to 17 matches in 2017 because of injury and cards, Champenoy said. A red card in a Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament led the 6-foot-3 Whitehall to miss the Broncos' final three games of the season, including two in the NAIA Tournament.

"He took it pretty tough," Champenoy said. "He was hurt. I think he still is, to be honest with you. The fact that we didn't make it farther in the national tournament, I think he feels like he owes his teammates a little bit coming back right now, which if he feels that way and he uses that to motivate him, he could be pretty interesting to see early in the season."

Whitehall, who is playing this summer for the Lincoln Bugeaters, hails from Warrington, England. His initial route to the United States took him to NCAA Division I Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, but an NCAA Clearinghouse issue kept him from playing there, Champenoy said, and he landed at Hastings.

Whitehall's contributions as a senior will be key for a Broncos team that must replace 13 seniors.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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