Ahead of the curve

THE FIRST 2005 prospect to verbally commit to Washington State was DB/RB <b>Shelton Danzy</b>. With the Cougs expected to have no more than 15 scholies available this year, Danzy was a great—and select—pickup. The standout from Rainier Beach High was in Pullman this past weekend, along with 700 other youngsters attending the Washington State summer football camp. And with Danzy, the news just keeps getting better.

Shelton Danzy seems to have a knack for making good news—both early and often.

(photo courtesy of
Danzy family)

He became the earliest verbal commitment in WSU history on April 28, (besting the mark set last year by linebacker Alex Hamill on May 3.) He has appeared on a slew of preseason top prospect lists.. and he is an All-American Bowl combine invitee, to be held in San Antonio in January.

And now, the honor roll student at Beach has another piece of good news to share with the Cougar faithful.

"I'm happy to report that I passed my SAT, taken June 5, 2004," Danzy told Cougfan.com.

Not bad for someone who has yet to begin his senior year in high school.

On TheInsiders Northwest Hot 100, (WA, OR, ID, MT, HI, AK), Danzy is the No. 1 defensive back prospect, and is ranked at No. 22 overall. While appreciative, that doesn't mean the Cougar commit is satisfied just to have made the list.

"I was still honored to be the top Defensive back listed on Northwest Hot 100," Danzy said. "But it's early, and I expect to crack the top ten by the end of the 2004 season."

In addition to his 58 total tackles (40 solo) this past year, Danzy is also versatile, having taken it to the house seven times on offense in 2003.

Despite only 71 carries in 2003, he racked up 720 yards on the ground; with a single game high of 191-yards.. on but 13 touches.

Danzy also has good hands coming out of the backfield, catching 10 balls for 174 yards last season.

While most projections have him as a defensive back at the collegiate level, he told The Seattle Times at the time of his verbal that Washington State had talked to him about playing "either position - wherever they need me."

Something easily recognizable about Danzy is his drive. On the photos accompanying this story, the Rainier Beach standout is wearing No. 5 in some, and No. 6 in others. That is by design. Its one of the things Danzy does to motivate himself, to keep reminding himself to ‘earn it.'

(photo courtesy of Danzy family)

"The pics in Blue with No. 5 are my preseason/camp photos," explained Danzy.

"I always wear No. 5 before the actual season begins to keep me focused and working hard... never settling for the player that I am but striving for the player that I want to become."

One way to become that better player is to attend a number of camps and combines. Danzy has been doing just that for the past several weeks.

At the NIKE combine at Oregon, Danzy made it a point to note he was more than thrilled with his decision to commit to WSU. But with a slight high ankle sprain suffered the week prior, he decided it best not to participate in all the drills while in Eugene—not wanting to chance being unable to put on a good show in Pullman since, "That is the camp that really matters!"

Danzy still made an impression.

"Shelton Danzy was one of the top corners," said Chris Fetters, TheInsiders NW Recruiting Analyst, of his performance down in Eugene.

"You could tell he wasn't shying away from competition, even though he wanted to save his ankle for the Washington State camp."

"Shelton is a guy that will use (his physicality) to try and take receivers out of their game. There is nothing receivers hate more than a pesky DB that's in their pocket all day long, and Danzy is one of those 'lock-down' kind of corners," Fetters noted.

"Early." Has a nice ring to it. Its something Shelton Danzy is making a habit of.. He was the earliest known recruit to ever commit to Washington State. He's already made an appearance on a bevy of preseason lists. And he didn't waste any time obtaining a qualifying test score on the SAT, either.

It has become clear over the last few months that Danzy was a great get for Washington State—more so than many might have initially realized at the time of his early verbal. The more learned of Danzy, the clearer it becomes he has a chance to be a very special college football player.

Washington State looks for good athletes of good character to recruit. "We want kids that want to be here and are good, tough, hard-nosed players and bleed Crimson & Gray," says coach Bill Doba.

The Cougars look to have found just that in Danzy. Plus, he has a little swagger to him on the field.. to go along with a tremendous attitude off the field.

(photo courtesy of Danzy family)

And with Danzy, WSU picked up right where they left off with the previous recruiting class—it is a trend that has perhaps been overlooked.

Twenty of the twenty-four high school players in the Cougar class of '04 were team captains.

While team captains have obviously not yet been named for the upcoming high school football season, Danzy can already list that particular accomplishment on his résumé.

He was a team captain for Beach last year — as a junior.

Ahead of the curve, indeed.

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