Luttrell signs to play football at Shasta College

Benny Westcott

A powerhouse on both sides of the ball on the Husky gridiron the past two seasons announced he will be playing football at the next level at a signing ceremony at Sweet Home High School on Tuesday, May 3.

Daniel Luttrell committed to play strong safety and outside linebacker at Shasta College in Redding, Calif. The Knights compete in the California Community College Athletic Association, and went 4-6 last season.

Luttrell, who transferred to Sweet Home from West Albany after his sophomore year, was named Second Team All-League Defensive Back his junior year, as well as the team’s Defensive MVP and Most Inspirational, when the Huskies went 2-4. His senior year, as the Huskies finished 3-6, he was named Second Team All-League Defensive Back again, and again won Most Inspirational, as well as Best Defensive Back.

In his two seasons at Sweet Home, Luttrell had 34 tackles, three forced turnovers, three tackles for loss, and a sack. On offense he ran for 520 yards and six touchdowns on 128 carries, and had six catches for 41 yards. He also contributed on special teams with 95 yards on six kick returns. (Luttrell’s two seasons at Sweet Home consisted of three fewer games than is typical, because the fall 2020 season was moved to the spring of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and featured only six games.)

Luttrell said his goal is to spend one or two years at Shasta, and then play football at a Division I or Division II school. He said those future plans are a major reason why he chose Shasta.

“The vibe I got from the coaches [at Shasta] was that we are going to have fun, but our main goal is to win and get you guys to the next level,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell said he has wanted to play college football since he moved to Sweet Home, as he wasn’t yet sure while at West Albany.

He said moving to Sweet Home “gave me a chance to actually show and prove to myself that I have potential to at least go D2.

“Being able to be a leader here for all of the guys that needed that kind of leader, and all the coaches at Sweet Home, showed me that I could have potential to go to a bigger level instead of junior college,” Luttrell said.

While looking forward to his future transition to college football, Luttrell also looked back on the transition he made two years ago from West Albany to Sweet Home, and what he learned from the experience.

“West Albany showed me that football is about intensity and working hard to be that next state champion,” Luttrell said. (The Bulldogs finished 11-1 his sophomore year, competing at the 5A level). He said that at Sweet Home, “They weren’t really like that.”

He said he didn’t really like the idea of coming to Sweet Home at first, but learned that “People are nice anywhere you go.”

He noted that coming into the Husky football program, there “wasn’t really that much intensity. We were always doubting ourselves, saying that we were going to lose going into a game. But going from West Albany to Sweet Home, my mindset was that we’re going to win, no matter who we play, no matter how big they are.”

He said that “bringing the intensity level from West Albany to Sweet Home was my main goal. I just tried to bring a mindset to win, to try in practice, and have fun, but also have an intense play style. And to always have that intensity on the sideline, on the field, in the locker room and at practice.”

Head Coach Ryan Adams, who was an assistant Luttrell’s junior year before becoming Head Coach the next season, said Luttrell “instantly brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the game of football.”

“As a first year head coach it was a true blessing to have a kid like that in a leadership position his senior year,” Adams continued. “He helped me with a lot of different aspects and helped make the job enjoyable and something to look forward to every day.”

Adams also credited Luttrell’s work ethic. “He showed up every day in the weight room trying to get bigger and stronger. He was excited to come to practice. All those things that set people apart with their tendencies and their commitment, he does a lot of.”

Along with his athleticism, Adams spoke on how Luttrell is a student of the game.

“He’s one of our few kids that spends a lot of time on his own watching film, trying to dissect the other team’s tendencies. You don’t see that very often from high school kids, especially nowadays with everything pulling their attention,” Adams said. “He made it a habit to go out of his way and try to do those things, which helped him on the football field and allowed him to communicate and help his teammates around him.”

Adams also said “People want to be around him. He’s not a mean guy. He likes to be friendly with everybody and mentor younger kids.”

He said Luttrell is physically set up to play at the next level. “Athletically, he should be just fine. And he’s got the work ethic that’s going to set him up for success. It’s just a matter of how bad he wants it, and I think he’s a kid that wants it pretty bad. He has the characteristics, personality and drive to do what it takes to be successful. I’m excited to watch him go on that journey and figure out how to play at the next level and do life as an adult.”

Luttrell participated in track through his freshman year and basketball and lacrosse in middle school before focusing on football, which he’s played since fifth grade.

“Football has shown me a lot, Luttrell said. “Friendships, leadership, work ethic. Football’s like a family, and it showed me how to take care of a family as a leader.”

Luttrell visited Shasta in January. He also considered Lewis and Clark College and George Fox University before deciding they were too expensive.

He looks forward to seeing what the level of play in the CCCAA is like. “I want to see how that level of football relates to high school,” he said. “I know that it will be a big change, but I want to know if what I’ve learned from high school and all the years I’ve been playing carries the same way to the next level.”

Luttrell reports to practice in mid-July, and said in the meantime he will be out on the field working on footwork. “I’ve been in the weight room trying to get bigger, and eat and drink better,” he said. “I know California is going to be extremely hot during the summer.”

Luttrell intends to study business at Shasta. And between the lines, his goals are also clear.

“I love winning,” he said. “So of course I will put all of my effort into that team to help win.”