Washington senior nose tackle Danny Shelton will play in his fourth and final Apple Cup on Saturday in Pullman (7:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1). A projected first-round NFL draft pick, Shelton has 8.5 sacks and 16.0 tackles for loss, more than any other defensive tackle in the nation.
Here, he shares insights on the Apple Cup and his infatuation with pretend bow and arrows.
Q: You’re a local guy and an Apple Cup veteran. Do you feel the need to impress on younger teammates what the rivalry is all about?
DS: We haven’t really done that. We let Coach Pete bring in the alumni. That’s really what we recommended before he came, bring in more alumni and talk to everybody about the traditions at Washington. I think he’s done a great job. We had a couple greats come in (Brock Huard, Lawyer Milloy, Mike Rohrbach) and it’s just an awesome feeling to hear their perspectives and what they lived through and what being a Husky means to them.
Q: It looked like you were having as much fun as you’ve ever had here Saturday night in your last game at Husky Stadium.
DS: I think it was just us old guys realizing that this is our last time running out of the tunnel, playing in front of this great crowd. We really wanted to just put on a show for everybody, just show them how much fun we’ve had and it’s all been because of their support. We just wanted to entertaining them and show them that we’re having fun and we love the game.”
Q: You were shooting pretend bow and arrows during breaks in the Oregon State game. Where did that come from?
DS: A lot of players on the team have been watching the show on Netflix, ‘Arrow.’ We play around in the locker room and in practice. Me and John (Timu) thought of just bringing it out. There’s no need to be shy out in front of our crowd, so we decided just to have fun out there. We started it in the beginning of the game and kind of got the Oregon State coaches doing it with us. It was kind of crazy to see that. It was pretty fun.”
Q: Did they get you at all?
DS: No, man. Nobody gets me.” (laughs)
Q: What makes that show so good?
DS: I think it’s just, us being older and being able to live out things that we didn’t get to live out during my childhood. A lot of us didn’t come up with these fancy things, so now we’re receiving stipend checks and we’re able to go out and maybe buy (toy) bows. Just buy things we couldn’t have when we were a child. Me and Hau’oli (Kikaha) were talking about getting walkie-talkies because we never got them when we were kids. We talked about night-vision goggles and just things that you never really got to enjoy when you were a kid. Kind of getting back to the point of showing the young guys that football doesn’t have to be this strict game where you’re selling your soul and you’re giving up your body for everything and not getting out of it; it can be fun at the same time and also rewarding. … Really, this year has just been the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
Q: Did you actually go out and buy a toy bow and arrow?
DS: Yeah, during camp I had a toy bow and a little sticky arrow and (started) shooting people. … We’re messing around in the locker room all the time. We’re wrestling around, acting like we’re WWE starts and stuff, jumping off ladders and tables. That’s how it is. Showing these young guys that you can still have fun and still get the job done.”
Q: You told us before the season that you thought you were “too nice” in the past. Has that changed this season?
DS: Yeah, it’s something I really feel like I needed to go out there. I felt like, just other coaches were taking advantage (of that) and not really seeing the potential that I have. I really made it a goal of mine to embrace that side of me, that aggressive side and make more plays and put my body on the line.