Cal Offer Kick-Starts Shelton's Recruitment

Auburn (Wash.) defensive tackle Danny Shelton fits the mold of a prototypical nose tackle. California, the first school to offer him, runs the defense he likes. Five more schools have offered since the Bears did, including two early favorites. The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder won't make it to Berkeley this weekend for Junior Day, but he says he is far from making a decision…

Danny Shelton (6-3, 285) says California defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi came by his school the first day back from winter break in January. It was then that Lupoi relayed the message to Shelton that he had a verbal offer from the Golden Bears.

"I was pretty stoked," said Shelton. "It was my first offer. [Lupoi] is a pretty cool coach. I first met him my sophomore year when he came by to talk to Chris [Young]."

Within days of the Bears offering, the three top Pac-10 programs in the area threw their hat in the ring. Shelton received verbal offers from Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. He admits the UO and UW offers pushed those schools past Cal on his list of schools.

"At the time, Cal meant a lot to me," Shelton said of his initial interest in the Bears. "I still like Cal because they run a 3-4 and I'm best at nose guard."

"I started to like Oregon because it was the next offer, then I got Washington but I like Oregon more because of the uniforms and their defense."

However, some off-the-field activity has transpired in Eugene since the Ducks offered. First, starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was named a robbery suspect in an on-campus frat house burglary. Then four Oregon players have been arrested in three weeks. The newsworthy events have cast a different shadow on the program in Shelton's eyes.

"There's too much drama going on at Oregon," said Shelton. "I cared what Masoli did; I used to look up to him. Now after what happened to him, it gave me a different perspective."

Masoli has yet to be suspended or penalized by Kelly. Despite the turmoil, Shelton hasn't ruled out the Ducks. "I liked the coaches," he added. "Right now, they are going to stay second on my list."

The Huskies have moved up but not necessarily by default.

"I like Washington more," said Shelton. "It's closer to home, a younger team and I'm familiar with the coaching staff. And I know current players and new players going to attend U-Dub."

Idaho and Washington State are his latest offers but like Oregon State, Shelton is not considering them as much. "If I didn't have any offers, I'd consider Washington State and Idaho," he added. "I've never really thought of Oregon State as a possibility. I like watching the Rodgers brothers play but haven't considered them."

But he wants to explore a few more schools further.

"I want to start talking to LSU, Alabama and the [Miami] Hurricanes too. They are only sending a lot [information] letters. I really haven't had any time to contact coaches at those schools."

All schools have gone through Auburn head coach Gordon Elliot to get in touch with Shelton. He says Elliot has helped him through the process. "He tells me what I need to know to get noticed," added Shelton.

All six of his offer schools extended invites to either junior days or spring practice, including this weekend's junior day at Cal. "I've been trying to plan visits but travel and time are the issues," said Shelton.

While he will not attend this weekend, he does plan to make to the Bay Area sometime this spring or summer. "I have family down in California," he added.

Shelton plans to go through the recruiting process, take his official visits and make a decision closer to signing day. In addition, with a 3.5 GPA, and all his core classes in order, all he must do is pass the SAT to qualify academically.

"I'm going to sign up for the SAT tomorrow (Wednesday)," said Shelton. "I have a coach that is a counselor. He picks my classes. It feels great to have [academics] in order. I can pretty much work on getting stronger, faster and getting the team ready for the season."

When it comes to making his final decision, distance may or may not play a factor. "It depends on how well they take care of me," Shelton said of a program and coaches. "That's what my mom likes the most – how comfortable I feel. If that means going out of state then I go out of state."

As for Cal having a shot to overtake UW or OU among his favorites…"I like their defense," Shelton added. "I know they have a lot of [Polynesian players] there, that's a good thing."

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