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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 3 months ago

Danny Stutsman signs with Oklahoma

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A star on both sides of the ball for Foundation Academy, Danny Stutsman officially signed during Early National Signing Day to play football at the University of Oklahoma.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

In the immortal words of the late Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

Those words rang with a bit of truth for Foundation Academy standout Danny Stutsman — who played both at linebacker and wide receiver — and his long wait to sign his national letter of intent with his school of choice: the University of Oklahoma.

Although there were some athletes who waited until Early National Signing Day — Wednesday, Dec. 16 — the Foundation senior gave his verbal commitment to Oklahoma in May, and he’s been waiting for signing day ever since.

“It’s just a relief,” Stutsman said.“It’s pretty much pure excitement at my house right now — I’m happy the day has come, and I’m ready to work from here on out.”

Originally, a signing-day event was planned on campus, but after COVID-19 complications delayed that idea several times, the signing took place in the Stutsman home.

“It was a little stressful — hearing from Coach Lord and that we have to re-change it and re-change it,” Stutsman said. “I got a little stressed out at the time, but I mean, I knew everything was going to be fine as long as I signed that paper.”

And Stutsman didn’t just wait around to sign his letter of intent. He did it first thing in the morning at the behest of his position coach at Oklahoma. Stutsman said he could hardly sleep the night leading up to signing day, but at 7 a.m., he put pen to paper and made it official. In the process, he became the first Oklahoma signee to get his paperwork in that day.

Although he played on both sides of the ball for the Lions and found success on offense, Stutsman was recruited as a linebacker for the Sooners.

At the OLB position, Stutsman — a four-star prospect and ranked 12th overall at the outside linebacker position by 247Sports — was part of a defense that helped lead the Lions to their first regional title and an impressive 9-2 season in the middle of a pandemic. And over the course of his four years on the team, he picked up a school-best 333 total tackles while amassing 20 sacks and eight caused fumbles.

“Danny is such a great kid,” said Lions former head coach Brad Lord. “For a kid with his accolades, he is a very humble kid. He’s the greatest player I’ve coached — I’ve coached a lot of good ones, and he is right up there.

“He’s going to be a stud at Oklahoma — Lincoln Riley picked right,” he said. “He’s an athlete, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get on the field right away as a freshman.”

Looking back on his time at Foundation, Stutsman said he had grown a lot — both physically and mentally — during the past four years at the school, especially during his sophomore and junior seasons when he realized what it would take to make it up to the next level of football.

Now that his high school season is finished, Stutsman is back to the hardwood playing for the Lions’ basketball team, but he’s looking forward to a future in Norman, Oklahoma — and he has a message for the Sooners fans he hopes to win over as fans.

“I’m just excited to get on the field as soon as possible, I’m ready to work, and I’m eager to get out there,” Stutsman said. “I think I’d want to tell them (the fans) I’m eager to get to work from the first day I step on campus, and I won’t stop working until the day I leave.”

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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