Danzy eyes the island out on the Palouse

AS FAR AS Shelton Danzy is concerned, his career at Washington State began long ago. While many seniors are kicking back, enjoying these last days of high school, the Seattle product is well into an intense workout regimen designed to get him into fighting crimson trim. Three times a day, five days a week. It'd be seven days if Danzy wasn't mindful about overtraining.

And nothing is being left to chance as the Rainier Beach star prepares for his arrival on the WSU campus later this summer. He relishes the workouts, but afterwards isn't any picnic.

"I'm doing the Russian shower routine, even though I'm not really fond of that," said Danzy. "After you workout, you have the water on as hot as you can stand it and then as cold as you can stand it. It's supposed to rejuvenate the muscles. I'm not exactly in love with that part of it."

Danzy's mindset coming into Washington State is that he's a shutdown cornerback, but he's always said he'll gladly do whatever the coaches say is best for the team. Defensive backs coach Ken Greene told Danzy (5-10, 182) this winter he can see him laying the hat from the safety position. But during these halcyon days before graduation Danzy is focused on earning, and staking a claim on an island out on the Palouse..

"I'm there (at the gym) practically every day, that's my second home these days," said Danzy. "I do a morning session, then track takes care of the running part, and then I work out in the evenings. (In part), I'm working on my hips, getting my body fat down to a certain level. I'm at 182, and plan on reporting to camp right around 180. I just want to be sure what I'm bringing to the table is my best, because I don't want to have any excuses."

In track, Danzy anchors the Rainier Beach 4x400 relay team. Last Thursday, the quartet clocked a time of 3:21:48 with Danzy's 400 split clocked at a blazing 48.94.

WHILE BENEFICIAL for the vast majority of incoming freshmen to redshirt, coach Bill Doba has said WSU wants players who arrive with the mindset they're going to earn early playing time. Doba has also said cornerback is one of those few positions well suited to an incoming freshman being able to make that early leap from high school to D-IA ball. And spring ball concluded without any one cornerback definitively earning the starting job on the left side. Of this, Danzy is keenly aware.

"I'm on Cougfan all the time reading about what's going on over there, and this and that," Danzy said. "So I just want to be sure when an opportunity prevents itself, I am 100 percent ready to go."

Danzy's workouts are designed to reach maximum speed and strength gains. With younger players being more susceptible to injury as they mature physically, Danzy is also focused on doing all he can to prevent that.

"I'm trying to put a little more girth on my thighs, just trying to make sure I'm ready for anything. It's a little different coming up from the cornerback position hitting a (college) running back weighting 215-pounds and hitting a (high school) running back weighing 175-pounds."

"I just want to be sure I'm in the best shape possible so if an injury does come during the fall, it'll be because I was out there earning it. As long as I can bring the weight down and not lose any muscle mass," he said. "My bench and my squat are still improving."

DANZY HAS ALWAYS been proactive about doing any and everything he can to learn and improve, soliciting advice from such NFL luminaries and Seattle area residents Marcus Trufant and Eric Metcalf, who now serves as offensive coordinator at Renton High under his father, head coach Terry Metcalf, who was also a giant in the NFL.

"I expect to get with Tru before I leave, work on a few things," he said. "Eric also runs a track and field club, and they had some of their workouts at Rainier Beach so that's how that came about. He's definitely been a positive influence."

"He would jab me from time to time when we played Renton; 'Hey, you're slow,' and such. But he's just a dynamic coach. He's not that much older. Well, he is. But he's young at heart, you know? He's still driving the Escalade."

Between his junior and senior year, Metcalf told Danzy he already had the speed, it was just technique that stood between him and taking it to a higher level. Taking the lessons to heart, Danzy earned special recognition this past football season becoming the consensus top cornerback prospect in the state of Washington for 2005, all while capturing first team all-Metro league honors on both defense and offense and a slew of first teams honors and awards lists.

Still, Danzy doesn't feel he's shown what he can do yet. Not even close.

"A lot of it to this point has just been God-given," Danzy said. "I don't feel I've really brought all that much more to the table on top of that. But I'm planning on it, in order to be the kind of player I'm going to be. I feel the best I have in a long time," he said before pausing one extra beat.

"And, of course, I look the part," he laughed.

By Letter of Intent Day, the colorful Shelton Danzy was already a fan favorite with the Cougar Faithful.

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