Vanderbilt still in play for Toney

Vanderbilt was the first to offer Shaka Toney of Philadelphia's Imhotep Institute Charter High School. The Pennsylvania native said he's "most definitely" thinking about relocating to SEC territory after the Commodore offer, but the 6-foot-4, 215-pound defensive end/outside linebacker is just a junior and new college opportunities are popping up all over the place.

"During last school year, I think it was March, is when I received my first offer from Vanderbilt," Shaka Toney told "I've talked a lot with Coach Maxie, the new defensive backs coach and a long time with the defensive coordinator as well. Coach Maxie said that he just loves my motor. He likes how I fly all over the field. What he said stood out was the fact I take my education seriously. He's right. I do take pride in my GPA and my schoolwork. The defensive coordinator said he loved my highlight tape. He said that I'm not moved around very easily by the offensive lineman and I know how to get off of them and get to the quarterback. He said he was very impressed with my overall size and stature.

"I love Vanderbilt. I really do. I have a good felling about them after everything I've heard about the school. I'm ready to take a flight down there so I can see everything. The atmosphere Coach Maxie described to me got me excited. I'm one player who loves competing on the big stage and I think Vanderbilt definitely has a big stage to offer me. If i do commit there, I think I'd fit in perfectly. It would be a beautiful thing to be down there in Tennessee."

Since the initial Vanderbilt offer, Toney has been extended offers from Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and UMass and he says Rutgers and Duke are showing heavy attention.

"I think about playing on the big stage with all of the fans screaming out my name," Toney explained. "My brothers went to play at Bloomsburg and Shippensburg at the D-2 level. With all due respect to the great D-2 and D-3 colleges I think I'm a D-1 player who can go out there and compete at the highest level and when I get there I think I'm going to be a very good player.

"My mother and I have talked about the opportunity. She told me there's so much bad things going on in the city, but there's so much good you have going on with football. Every coach that calls me or walk through my door with an opportunity to play D-1 football I'm going to be excited to talk to. My mom said be comfortable in your decision then go make the most of it. She's going to come with me. She said she'll get herself a nice apartment wherever I choose to go.

"What means the most to me is being a part of a team. I'm all about team unity and the brotherhood. I want to trust my teammates enough to give them my wallet and when I get it back I know there won't be anything missing. A place with national exposure and teammates I know I can count on is where I'm going to play. The third thing would be a strong coaching staff."

Toney often switches from weakside defensive end to outside linebacker throughout the games at Imhotep. He's helped the Panthers to a 3-1 start to the season averaging 10 tackles per game with seven sacks and two pass breakups.

"I've realized that I can't get a sack on every play," he said. "What I've gotten better at is getting my hands up in the air and being a disruptive force at the line of scrimmage. Whatever I can do to pressure the quarterback like bat the ball down, or affect his throw, that's what I'm doing."

Imhotep is a charter school in North Philadelphia that promotes African heritage. The Panthers finished 12-3 in 2013 and were the PIAA Class AA state runner-up.

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