By Ray Hamill — It’s been a challenging offseason for Shasta College linebacker Anthony Slayton, but that hasn’t dampened his ambition.
In fact, if anything it’s hardened his resolve to succeed at the collegiate level.
“You’ve got to go through the tough times, or the good times wouldn’t be as good,” he said. “You’ve got to look at the positives.”
The former Del Norte Warrior is coming off an outstanding fall on the gridiron, where he led the state in tackles at the JC level and was named all-conference and team defensive MVP.
But in the second half of the final game of the season, Slayton suffered a bad knee injury, including a torn ACL and a partially torn MCL.
Now, three months into an expected six-to-nine month rehab, Slayton’s recovery is going well and he remains as positive as ever and eager to recover in time for the 2022 season.
“I’m hopeful,” he said. “The process is going pretty well so far, and I’m on track.”
Slayton, who also was a standout basketball player in high school, graduated Del Norte in 2020 after playing a major role in the Warriors’ run towards a state championship bowl game in football.
After heading to Shasta, he enjoyed a strong shortened spring season in 2021, before exploding onto the scene in the fall and finishing with 61 tackles (best in the state) and 14 TFLs (second best in the state), as well as adding a pair of sacks.
The team finished 4-6, including a 1-4 mark in the tough National-NorCal Conference, and while Slayton was disappointed with the record, he was pleased with his own performance.
“It was awesome, I had a blast this year,” he said. “I feel like personally I reached my goals. I definitely exceeded a lot of people’s expectations.”
The 2019 Big 5 Defensive MVP is hoping to be back on the practice field this summer, but won’t rush things and could take advantage of a red-shirt season is he needs it.
“My goal is to put myself in the best position possible to be able to play next year,” he said. “I want to get my knee back to 100 percent, and for now I want to try and work on other aspects of the game to get better.”
Slayton learned how to be a student of the game at Del Norte while playing for head coach Nick White and his staff, and that’s something he has carried over to Shasta.
“At Del Norte, I was able to take positive steps throughout my years there,” he said. “And I Just continued to learn. And I definitely feel that played a role. You know you have to invest yourself in the game plan
“If you know where the ball is going to be, it makes it easier.”
His time at Shasta is also just part of the journey and Slayton hopes to eventually take his game to a four-year school, whenever that opportunity may present itself.
He certainly has turned some heads at Shasta and should get plenty of interest moving forward.
“This past year was one of my most fun,” he said. “But I’m hoping next year we can put something together.”