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Florida’s 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?

Culpepper’s Unusual Childhood

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.

Emma Culpepper 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.

Strength of Character

Daunte’s 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.

Squares are 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.

Stability and Prosperity

To complement 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.

The Moon 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!

Loyalty and Faith

Daunte’s 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.

This time, 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.”

That’s why 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 the world!



Courtney Roberts, M.A.,is a writer, teacher, and consultant, originally from Miami, FL. Her work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture' that combines cosmology, religious studies and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos.

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For more information about Courtney Roberts Conrad, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Courtney Roberts Conrad:

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  • Foot and Mouth Comes to a Head   3/18/2001
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  • Super Bowl Recap: Scoring by the Stars   1/31/2001
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