The big linebacker is garnering lots of preseason attention as an All-SEC pick and a potential All-American. With a strong senior season, he has a chance to move into the first round of the 2004 National Football League draft and he gets to do it on a team favored to win the conference title. At six-foot-five, 236 pounds with excellent ball-hawking skills, Dansby has earned respect around the SEC for his big-play ability.
"It's just a dream come true right now," says Dansby of the way everything is going as he prepares for his senior season. "I am blessed. I just thank God for everything He is doing for me right now. I am going to try to take advantage of it."
Karlos Dansby talks to the media on Thursday at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover. He was the winner of the Zeke Smith Award last season as Auburn's top defensive player after moving from safety to linebacker.
Dansby says he never expected to be one of the featured players at the annual SEC Media Days, which is held not far from where he grew up as a high school and basketball football star at Woodlawn High School. "I never knew this would happen, but it feels real good," he says. "I am just having fun right now."
Dansby, who won the Pat Dye Leadership Award in spring training, is a Playboy preseason All-America pick and received the same honor from The Sporting News, Lindy's and College Football News. He is a second team All-America pick by Athlon and third team by Street and Smith. He made 76 tackles last season and intercepted three passes, recovered two fumbles and forced two fumbles.
The linebacker says he can sense the excitement building with the season opener vs. Southern California just a month away. Expectations are higher than they have been for the Tigers since the 1980s after Auburn won nine games last year, including a bowl victory over Penn State. "I think we can much better," Dansby says of the 2003 Tigers when comparing them to last season's group. "We have a lot of returning starters on offense and they have been in the system for a year. We have a lot of starters back on defense who have been in the system so I believe this team can be great."
Dansby says Campbell's performance at quarterback will have a lot to say about just how good Auburn will be. "That is going to be the key this year, I think," he says. "Jason is ready for the challenge, I believe. He is stepping up in the offseason. We see a big change in him right now. He has grown up and I think he is ready."
Auburn Football Notes When asked to describe the difference in style between himself and Dontarrious Thomas, Auburn's other all-star linebacker candidate, Dansby says, "Dontarrious is bigger a more prototype linebacker. Me, I am a strong safety, outside linebacker type who can fit the run and defend the pass."...Dansby says a key to Auburn's defensive success is avoiding the injuries that plagued that group last year...Tommy Tuberville says it is not his style to try to convince players in Dansby's position after their junior seasons to stay on the team for one more year if they want to go pro, but says he thinks the linebacker made a wise decision.