McDonogh defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton has punished opposing quarterbacks on the football field and forwards on the basketball court with his ability. The junior, who recently narrowed his recruiting to field to seven, will look to do the same at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Dennis-Sutton is rated as a four-star strong side defensive end, the third-ranked at his position and in the state and the 50th-best player of the 2022 class, per 247Sports. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end had two sacks, 16 solo tackles, 29 total tackles (10 tackles for a loss) and a fumble recovery in 10 games last season.
According to McDonogh coach Hakeem Sule, Dennis-Sutton’s “willingness to learn the defensive end position” is an important trait as person that’s fairly new to football altogether.
“This will be Dani’s third year playing organized football ever,” Sule said. “So, you’re taking an athlete and a guy who’s really a basketball player and teaching him the defensive end position. If you look at his film, what you’re seeing is a progression in the last two years of him mastering his craft and learning how to play. A guy with his size and relentless effort to get to the ball, that presents a lot of problems for opposing teams."
Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas and Southern Cal have landed within his top seven schools. The decision to narrow his list came to what schools have shown him the most interest.
“These are the main schools that I’ve been talking to — that I’ve been keeping in contact with and they’ve shown the most love and I can see myself at really any of these schools right now," Dennis-Sutton said.
He also received offers from Arkansas, Arizona State, Auburn, Boston College, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Notre Dame, Massachusetts, Michigan State, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Penn State is the home of former McDonogh stars redshirt freshman defensive tackle D’Von Ellies, junior defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher, redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Will Knutsson and true freshman linebacker Curtis Jacobs. While it is an enticing situation to be reunited with a number of his former Eagle teammates, it won’t be the driving factor in his decision.
“It’d be cool if I could play with my boys again, but that’s not really going to make or break my decision,” Dennis-Sutton said. “If I happen to be at Penn State, that would be really cool to get back and have a reunion again, but if I go elsewhere, I know that they’ll support me.”
Having the amount of players that have walked through the halls of McDonogh and suited up at the next level gives Sule a sense of pride. He said those former McDonogh players have been helpful to Dennis-Sutton and the other defensive players. Having a host of defensive players who are playing high-level Division I players who are also passing down knowledge makes the jump from high school to college that much easier.
“Every year it’s a commitment for our players to push one another and constantly get better,” Sule said. "When you have a group of guys and a talented pool of guys where you have upperclassmen who have graduated the year before, those guys push you in practice. Every day, every practice, every rep, you’re getting challenged by an upperclassmen.
“A guy like Curtis Jacobs will absolutely push Dani in practice and obviously Curtis will be a model for Dani. It’s the same way that Dani will be able to model for the younger players. Hopefully, we will continue to be able to produce a future crop of talented players on the defensive side.