best-kept football secret is now public knowledge. Daunte Culpepper has
emerged as one of the strongest and smartest young quarterbacks in football.
Surprise, surprise! They all laughed when the Minnesota Vikings head coach
Dennis Green drafted Culpepper in 1998. They all thought Green was plumb
out of his mind when he cut the likes of Randall Cunningham and Jeff George
to make Daunte his starter in 2000. Now that the Vikings are off to a
blazing 4-0 start behind Culpepper’s brilliant passing and fearless rushing,
nobody’s laughing anymore. But how could they miss this giant talent?
How come they don’t know Daunte?
In the answer to these questions lies the story of a special athlete from
a very special family, an athlete whose loyalty and humility led him on
an unusual route to the NFL. Actually, everything about Aquarian Daunte
Culpepper is unusual, and has been from the start. When Daunte was born,
on January 28, 1977 in Ocala, Florida, his birth mother was an unmarried
prison inmate. Fearful that her child would be trapped in the social services
system, the young woman turned to Emma Culpepper, a housemother who had
befriended her when she was in juvenile detention.
had a well-earned reputation as a sort of one-woman social service agency.
In her 62 years, she had already raised fourteen children, none of them
her own. She had sheltered at least twice as many more on a temporary
basis; nieces, nephews, neighbors—Emma never turned away a child in need.
But now widowed and nearing retirement, she wondered if she was up to
the demands of raising another child, much less an infant! She tried to
refuse, but her love won out in the end. Little did she know, as she drove
to pick up the homeless baby boy, that in this child, her fifteenth, she
would be so richly rewarded for all those years of sacrifice and service.
chart features an unusual t-square, a difficult planetary combination
in which two planets that oppose each other also form a square, or 90
degree aspect, to a third planet. Daunte’s natal Sun in
Aquarius opposes his Saturn in Leo, while both are at right angles to
his Uranus in Scorpio. The square aspect generates challenges, creating tensions that must be
resolved. The t-square only complicates matters, so that circumstances
within the native’s life constantly force him to grow, adapt and change.
not bad in and of themselves, for it is only in responding to challenges
and conquering obstacles that we become stronger and wiser. Comfort does
not build strong characters. It is the individual’s response to the challenges
generated by squares that can be either good or bad. Do we learn from
our mistakes and move on, or do we hang on to frustration and bitterness?
Daunte Culpepper has had more than his fair share of obstacles from the
very beginning. The strength of character that he has demonstrated in
surmounting them has already made him a legend in central Florida.
his natal t-square, his chart also features a very positive alignment,
a Moon-Jupiter conjunction in Taurus. The Moon is strong in Taurus, the
sign of its exaltation, and often confers great common sense and emotional
stability. Combined with Jupiter, the largest and most fortunate planet,
it promises extra emotional support and prosperity.
usually refers to the mother in a chart, and in Daunte’s case, he was
blessed with an adoptive mother and extended family, who, while far from
rich in a material sense, were rich in love and warmth, and provided him
with a solid moral foundation and the faith to work wonders. Of course,
now that Daunte plays in the NFL, both he and Emma are rich in every sense
of the word!
prodigious athletic talents made him a star at Vanguard High School in
Ocala, but at the end of his junior year, his GPA was a dismal 1.5. The
Gators and Seminoles passed on him, but a scout from the nearby University
of Central Florida in Orlando devised a plan to help Daunte bring his
GPA up in his senior year to the 2.0 he needed to qualify for an athletic
scholarship. The plan worked, and in Florida, a state with more than just
a passing interest in college football, the Gators and Seminoles came
calling again with promises of football glory.
Daunte passed on them and signed with UCF, an average 1-AA football program,
because, in his words, “I wanted to repay them for their faith in me.”
Now that’s loyalty. In Daunte’s four years in Orlando, the UCF Golden
Knights, under his leadership, grew into an emerging 1-A power. He stuck
by the Golden Knights again when scandal struck the team in his junior
year. He could have gone straight to the NFL and a big paycheck, but he
chose to stay and right the ship.
“I like being
a pioneer,” he said. “I like the idea that some day, people will look
back and say I helped turn the program around.”
he has come as such a surprise to the NFL. His loyalty, his leadership,
and his love for the fans in central Florida kept him laboring in obscurity,
but now his talent has brought him to his rightful place at the forefront
of the NFL. Florida is more than happy to share its football secret with