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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jul. 10, 2019 3 months ago

Danny Stutsman receives offer from Vanderbilt

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Rising junior Danny Stutsman became the first football player in Foundation Academy history to get an offer from an SEC school.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

Life is chock-full of surprises, but some are way better than others.

 That was the case for Foundation Academy outside linebacker Danny Stutsman, who got some news that he wasn’t expecting at all: Vanderbilt was offering him a spot on the football team.

It was the Sunday after he and the football team had just finished a weeklong van trip around the Southeast in early June, where they took part in camps at colleges like Vanderbilt and Clemson.

Tired from the trip, Stutsman was resting in his bed when the news of the offer trickled in.

“Coach (Brad) Lord called my dad and told him, and my dad walks into the room with that smile, and I’m like, ‘What’s up?,’” Stutsman said. “He was like, ‘Here’s the phone,’ and then Coach Lord just told me, ‘Congratulations, you’ve got an offer from Vanderbilt.’”

The moment was one that totally blindsided Stutsman, who sat there and soaked it all in. He had already received offers from Kent State and Pitt, but this was something that many kids growing up in the South dream of.

And with the offer, Stutsman also made history for the program by becoming the first player from Foundation to receive an SEC offer. For Stutsman, it’s actually a shock to think about.

“You really can’t (grasp it), because there have been so many great players at Foundation — like Evan Thompson and Cory Rahman, who all did great things — but it’s kind of surprising that I’m the first one to get an SEC offer given how  good those players were,” Stutsman said.

The moment is made even more fascinating considering the fact that the day they went to Vanderbilt (June 3) was originally planned to be an off day for the players. 

“Everyone was kind of like, ‘Oh man, no day off?,” Stutsman said. “But we went and I had a pretty good camp, and Coach Lord introduced me to the coaches.”

At the end of the day Sutsman was told by a coach that they’d check out his game film and call him back in a week or so. Needless to say, things went well from there.

And that’s a big factor in why Lord and his coaching staff pack players and gear into a van to go to camps. 

“We do it every year and it gets our kids better for the fall — getting coached up by college coaches,” Lord said. “We don’t like going to the one-day (camps) where they do the 40, the cones — we want to go to camps where they teach the kids.”

 

LOVE OF THE GAME

There are few players who enjoy the game of football more than Stutsman.

His dad once played football at Baylor during his college days, and Stutsman has been in the game since he was 5 years old.

Throughout those early days he split his time at quarterback and linebacker, but once Stutsman got to Foundation he realized that he wanted to be on the defensive side of the ball for one reason alone.

“Honestly, it’s better to hit people than get hit,” Stutsman said. 

Though he’s stuck in position at outside linebacker, Stutsman was put in at wide receiver where he actually became a legitimate threat last season. With his size, Stutsman was able to dominate corners and safeties — recording 11 receiving touchdowns.

As the new season quickly approaches, Stutsman will once again find himself on the field as a leader on both sides of the ball for Lord and his staff — and the expectations he has for himself are high.

“As a team there is only one goal — to go all the way — but for myself, personally, I want to have 100 tackles at least and then 15 to 20 touchdowns,” Stutsman said. “I’m pretty excited.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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