Recruiting Wire - The indomitable Mr. Danzy

COUGAR COMMIT <b>Shelton Danzy</b> heads to Washington State on his official visit this weekend. Once there, Danzy will reunite with recruits and verbals whose friendship was forged at WSU's summer camp this past June. And as we also found out, the first Cougar to verbal this recruiting season thinks of himself as a member of two teams -- the Rainier Beach Vikings...and the Washington State Cougars.

Shelton Danzy lives for weekends like this.

First, the No. 8 ranked Vikings take on West Seattle Friday night at 5pm to likely decide the Sound Division champion of the Metro League. Then it's off to Washington State where Danzy will reunite with fellow WSU summer camp attendees Arkelon Hall, Jonathan Stewart, Brandon Gibson and Jaron Taylor.

"It should be a nice time," said Danzy. "For (those of) us that camped together...we've basically kept in phone contact. Other than Hall, we all went to the DeLaSalle game together. It will just be nice for all of us to be able to get back together again."

The Washington State camp was a unique experience for Danzy, one that began when coach Timm Rosenbach introduced the defensive back around.

"One of the nice things about it is I've been to camps before where because of the competitive nature guys don't really get along well. And this (Washington State's camp) it was like were brothers from the start. I got to camp, coach Rosenbach introduced me to Hall and it was like I'd known this kid forever. We then got introduced to Jonathan and Jaron and it was like "Oh I've heard about you".

"It was good competition, we all played on the same team, we all cheered for one another -- It was really unique, it kind of took me by surprise. Jonathan is real humble, real down to earth. Taylor's the same way. We just bring the best out in one another."

To Danzy, they share a number of common traits -- such as the word "playmaker".

"When its crunch time, playmakers have to play. If Gibson catches the ball and he's in open space, whether its across the middle or not, nine times out of ten he's going to the house. (Even) if somebody misses a downfield block, Stewart is going to punish you, going down the field."

WHETHER ON OFFENSE OR DEFENSE, Danzy is eager to help the Cougs in any way he can. If it is on defense, then that suits him just fine. As does using the word "we" when talking about Washington State.

"If they really don't need me on offense, I'd (enjoy) making my stand on defense. Offensively, with the people that are returning, the sophomores and juniors, I think we'll be fine there. I think Josh Swogger is an excellent quarterback, I was sorry to see him get banged up. But even with the ups and downs this year, a few catches here, a few tackles there and we're undefeated." Danzy then paused for a beat before he started to laugh.. "And here we go with that "we" word again -- because I'm already THERE -- even though I'm still at Rainier Beach right now."

Even though it will be months before he attends his first class, Washington State is already a special place to Danzy.

"I think Wazzu is a place where you've got to want to be there. I don't think Wazzu is the type of place where you take it as your second (choice). You either really want to be there or you don't. As more and more quality wins come about, like the Texas game (Holiday Bowl) more and more quality people will come aboard. Hopefully, we get Jonathan to come, and we'll have an excellent nucleus."

The Cougs are already well on their way to an '05 class of quality student-athletes. Oral commitments are not binding, National Letter of Intent Day is February 2. But according to Danzy, his commitment is rock-solid. He's a Coug.

BUT GOING TO COLLEGE is about much more than just football to Danzy.

"My mom is a teacher, so books come first and foremost. Shelton Danzy is nothing without my mom backing me 110 percent. It can all go in a heartbeat. My family has been behind me 110 percent in letting me know that football is great, but you're not always going to be able to play and you always have to have your education to fall back on...that you make sure that when you go to school, you keep the student first in "student-athlete".

"I just believe that I'm there to get that education first and foremost. A lot of times, people get caught up in extra-curricular things. One of the reasons I wanted to go to a rural school was so I can concentrate on school and football. I've lived in the inner city all my life so for another kid who hasn't, if that's his dream to be in the big city, well, that's not my dream. My dream is to concentrate on my goals, be productive, get in, and then get out with that degree."

Cougfan.com asked Shelton if he had a message for the Cougar faithful.

"I just want to wish the Cougs good luck this weekend against USC. Sometimes the best you play is when you've got your backs set against the wall and no one else is believing in you. The recruits that I know...we haven't wavered one bit. We believe in them and they'll get it done...I know no one feels worse than them when losing, or not being able to uphold the 10-win seasons. But that will just give us motivation for working even harder next year to get it done."

Coming Friday: Part II of our talk with Shelton Danzy



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