Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is standout linebacker Danny Stutsman from Foundation Academy in central Florida.

A threat on both sides of the ball, Danny knows that to win games, you have to be just as dedicated off the field as you are on Friday nights. In his senior season, Danny worked alongside his team and led Foundation Academy to its first Regional Championship and State Semi Final.

Through eight games that season, Danny tallied:

On Offense

  • 64 carries for 548 yards
  • 10 rushing TDs
  • 25 catches for 542 yards
  • 21 yards per catch
  • 7 receiving touchdowns

On Defense

  • 52 solo tackles
  • 11 tackles for loss
  • 5 sacks
  • 2 forced fumbles
  • 2 interception returns for touchdowns
  • 4 pass deflections
  • 1 blocked punt

And that was just the regular season. In the playoffs, Danny racked up 164 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Regional Semi Final, 151 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 11 tackles, and 1 sack in the Regional Finals, and 9 tackles and 1 receiving touchdown in the State Semi Final against Victory Christian.

It’s a high school career full of performances like these that helped Danny make First Team All State in 2018 and 2019 and 2A Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. His proven football IQ and 3.8 GPA garnered Danny over 25 Division 1 scholarship offers before he committed to University of Oklahoma.

Danny was nominated for Game Recognize Game by Brad Lord, his head football coach at Foundation Academy and someone who’s seen first hand what an asset Danny is on the field.

Here’s what Danny had to say about competition, leadership, and playing college ball:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

Utilizing lessons that I have learned in the classroom to transcend onto the athletic field. Also being able to balance the responsibilities a full-time student has while also managing the schedule of full-time athlete.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

While my acceptance into the University of Oklahoma and earning an athletic scholarship has been a memorable moment in my career, I would also add being able to lead my high school team, Foundation Academy, to a regional championship for the first time in the school’s history has been meaningful in so many ways.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I’d say one of my idols in athletics itself is Michael Jordan. Although he’s a basketball player, his tenacity to always be the best player on the court and off has motivated me tremendously, and his constant desire to always compete no matter the circumstances has always made me push my game to the next level. Also, most importantly, Jordan’s ability to lead a team and motivate the players around him is something I try to take out of his game.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is the constant drive to be the best. Competing is so much more than just in-between the whistles on the football field. It is also during your off time competing against yourself and seeing how hard you can push yourself every day to be the best possible player and person.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school?

Some goals that I would like to achieve after high school would be to make an impact at Oklahoma as soon as I arrive, as well as seize the opportunity I am given by pursuing my college education.

 

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

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