NFL Draft: Danny Shelton Flashback

The gigantic defensive tackle from Washington is the 5th-best NFL prospect in the 2015 Draft. If you thought he was dominant in college, check out his high school highlights.

I saw a lot of Shelton as a prep, with the Washington All-American prepping at Auburn (Wash.), near where I live. The sophomore and junior Shelton was one of the most dominant players in the region. In fact, his junior year was arguably his best season. He and former All Pac-12 linebacker Chris Young led a stout Trojan defense that season to the state quarterfinals. Even in the spring of his junior year, Shelton still showed all the makings of a top-tier prospect. By the time his senior season came around, though, Shelton took a big step back, adding bad weight, looking unmotivated and disinterested, not making much of an impact on defense and almost looking like the interior offensive line was going to be his destination in college. He committed to Washington over a number of Pac-12 schools.

Then, tragedy struck the Shelton family after his senior season concluded. His brother, a teacher at a local middle school, was killed trying to break up a domestic disturbance and another brother was shot. Mourning and struggling with the loss, Shelton left for Seattle to play for the hometown Huskies and became a new man, motivated to provide and play for his family. He ended up becoming one of the best interior linemen in the Pac-12 over the last decade. He still is a little bigger than you’d like, but the motivation and edge he lacked his senior year, but had the two seasons prior, returned during his time on Montlake and he became an All-American in 2014 and a likely top 15-pick. The talent was always there with Shelton, but the focus drifted. Once it returned, he became the player we had anticipated he would become.

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