To the outside world, Danny Shelton is the next coveted NCAA Division I football recruit from the state of Washington – one most people around here consider another sure get for the Washington Huskies.
Get the senior where he’s truly comfortable – with his squad at Auburn High, and on the new turf of the town’s three-schools-for-one-Memorial Stadium – and he’s just one of the guys.
“He’s just Danny, and part of what we’re doing,” coach Gordon Elliott said. “Because of his personality, he’s not strutting around here, and people aren’t looking at him as the star.”
The South Puget Sound League North’s reigning two-way lineman of the year is a major college recruit .
Of his nine Division I scholarship offers, seven have come from Pacific-10 Conference programs – favorite Washington, Oregon, Washington State, Oregon State, California, UCLA and Stanford.
Amid speculation that he would make a decision over the next couple of weeks, Shelton confirmed he’ll stick with his original intentions – take official visits, and decide after the season.
“I’m going to wait it out,” he said.
Shelton and Nick Conlan became the first linemen in the Elliott era to start both ways as sophomores.
With four starters returning, including Shelton and Conlan, the Trojans’ line is an obvious strength. Also, a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, including sought-after prospect Alphonse Wade (team-leading 1,582 yards), are back.
Shelton is the starting right tackle on the offensive line – the key blocker in the team’s “Jet” sweep run.
One big transformation took place in the offseason – Shelton’s body shape.
He decided to go out for wrestling at Auburn. Once 320 pounds, he shed nearly 40 pounds in a month to get to the weight limit for his new sport.
“I really joined to have fun. I started conditioning and losing weight,” Shelton said. “In pickup football games, I was faster. So I started competing more ... and taking (wrestling) seriously.”
Shelton said he altered his diet: “I just ate less instead of eating bad. For lunch, I’d have a roll or a sandwich wrap, and I drank lots of water.”
He was a surprise Class 4A semifinalist at Mat Classic, the state wrestling championships. And he’s stuck with it – he even attended the Oregon State wrestling camp in between football activities last summer.
“He’s back up to 295, and that is a lot better (than 320). He has a better body, which has helped him. He should run better,” Elliott said. “I expect him to be a complete lineman.”