The St. Thomas Aquinas High School football program has been dominant. Darrell Shelton has been a part of a team that has won three state championships in the last four years and they don’t look they’re stopping any time soon.
“It feels awesome because people recognize you that you don’t even know. They recognize you and they say ‘oh do you go to St. Thomas?’ They hold you up to a certain standard. One of our mottos is the STA standard because you can’t spell standard without S-T-A which is St. Thomas Aquinas. So, we’re always held to a certain standard academically and [athletically],” Shelton said.
He also said that his head football coach, Roger Harriott, always preaches about tradition and the STA standard.
“…That’s what we have. The STA standard, we’re always held to a higher standard than everybody else. That’s just our tradition so we just try to fulfill our tradition and play for the people behind us and the people before us. We hold it down for them. We call it holding the rope for them, hold the rope.”
St. Thomas Aquinas has a record of 41-4 and 8-0 in Class 7A District 14 play over the last three years. They went 13-2 (4-0 District) in 2016 and Darrell Shelton recorded 86 tackles (54 solo), two fumble recoveries and one sack. See his junior highlights.
He is also ranked 233rd on ESPN’s top 300 players in the 2018 class and No. 147 in the Rivals 250 list. See his junior highlight film.
He has received 21 offers from: Duke, North Carolina, Auburn, Florida State, Maryland, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State and more. He just picked an offer from East Carolina University yesterday.
East Carolina has offered Ft Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas LB Rocky Shelton (2018) https://t.co/WsLtDdbZ4k
— Rob Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) January 25, 2017
“Right now, there are no schools at the top. I’m just going through and seeing what schools have the best opportunities for me so I’m taking it all in. I’m only a junior so I still have a little bit of time, not much but I’m still taking it all in and going through it,” Shelton said.
He doesn’t have a dream school in mind but is hoping for a Notre Dame scholarship offer. He is not sure when will make his commitment yet but said may fall in between the 2017 spring football season and summer time.
Darrell Shelton believes he’s fast enough to stay in coverage and make tackles at the line of scrimmage due to his physicality. What he enjoys most about playing linebacker is having the opportunity to make tackles and be the leading tackler on the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders defense in addition to intercepting the ball.
He doesn’t believe there is a best part to his game
“…I just try to work on everything evenly, try to utilize all of my skills simultaneously and just get after the ball and make the tackles. That’s how I think about it. Just make a play.”
He said that he needs to work on speed because being the quickest man is the way to go in his mind in addition to working on his strength because you have to be able to get off blocks in order to deliver big hits to the ball carrier.
“My mentality is to get after the ball, go hit somebody and play my position. Play for my teammates because my teammates need me so I have to do my job and worry about myself and then get everybody else acclimated,” Shelton said.
He said that the linebackers are the group that holds the Raiders defense together and he and three star Notre Dame Inside Linebacker commit, Drew White are the leaders who make sure the defense is in line at all three levels from the defensive line to the secondary.
St. Thomas Aquinas led the NFL with nine players active on 53-man rosters on opening day in 2016. That put them in the lead once again in most active NFL players. That same time the year before, the school had 17 players in the league (16 on active rosters, one practice squad).
You have to leave a great impression for everybody because at St. Thomas Aquinas you have some of the greatest players of all time come through here. There’s always going to be people who are great, you just have to hopefully be one of those guys.”