A sophomore at Howard University, who is a defensive tackle on the school's football team, and an 18-year-old man who was set to begin his freshman year at the school were stabbed early yesterday outside a university athletic dormitory, D.C. police and Howard officials said.

Bailey Daniels, a 20-year-old from Decatur, Ga., and Dedric Tisdale of Stafford, Tex., each were stabbed once and were beaten after being approached about 1:50 a.m. by a group of males outside of Cook Hall, 601 Fairmont St. NW, officials said.

Daniels, a Cook Hall resident, was stabbed in the abdomen and was in fair condition at the Washington Hospital Center's MedStar unit after surgery yesterday morning, hospital officials said.

Tisdale, who suffered a wound to the right side of his chest, was treated and released later yesterday.

Police said Tisdale told 3rd District investigators that he and Daniels were walking at Sixth and Fairmont streets NW and were approached by several males, one of whom struck Tisdale.

An unidentified witness who was walking with the two students told police that when the group approached, one of the suspects called out, "That's them."

The witness then fled after hearing clicks and seeing one of the suspects pointing a handgun at Daniels, police said.

Details of the incident, including exactly how Daniels was stabbed, were unclear, police said, but a large number of people apparently was present when the stabbings occurred.

No arrests have been made and no motive for the assaults have been established, police said.

Daniels, a 6-2, 260-pound tackle saw limited action on the Bison defensive line last fall, his freshman year, university spokesman Henry Duvall said.

University sports information director Edward Hill Jr. said that Daniels "was vying for one of the starting positions" in the upcoming season.

Duvall said Tisdale lives at Drew Hall, Fifth and Gresham streets NW, and both he and Daniels are enrolled in the School of Human Ecology where Daniels is majoring in consumer resource management.

"One of these students, I don't know which one, went out to get aspirin and the other one went out to get a sandwich," Duvall said. He said football players residing at Cook are under curfew but the parameters of the restriction were unavailable.

Immediately after the stabbings, Duvall said that "either someone ran into Cook Hall or one of the injured students made his way into the hall" where a staff member notified campus and city police.

A graduate assistant who lives in the dormitory said he was awakened by other residents when the shooting happened. He then awakened an assistant football coach who also lives in Cook, where the football team's offices are located.

"I think some freshmen saw some guys pull up in front of the door and get out of a car," he said.

The graduate assistant, who asked not to be identified, said there was talk among Cook residents that the injured students "were out at a gathering or something" but that had not been confirmed. "We still haven't got the facts," he said.

A junior football player passing through the Cook foyer yesterday, where a sign announced a mandatory noon meeting for football players, said Daniels "is a good guy and all that, {but} we don't know anything yet."

That athlete asked not to be identified and other players at the dormitory, although they talked of the incident among themselves, refused to be interviewed, as did their coaches.

Duvall said residence halls have been open for incoming freshmen since last Saturday and classes are scheduled to begin Monday.

The university football team has been practicing since Aug. 17, an athletic department official said. The team's first game is scheduled for Sept. 12.