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Sierra Scoop: Hart finds a home in Davis

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Just two years out of Del Oro High, Danny Hart owns quite a collection of college football jerseys. Golden Eagle fans probably remember Hart best as the dangerous dual threat that lined up behind center throughout Del Oro’s incredible undefeated run to the Sac-Joaquin Section championship in 2005. He’s seen many different football fields since then. Hart went to Sacramento State in 2006, joining full-ride scholarship recipients Bill Sherman and Jason Heath. Last season, Hart was back living with his folks and attending Sierra, where he helped the Wolverines to a 9-2 record and a Valley Conference championship. This fall, Hart found himself in Davis, where he plans to settle, at least for the next three years. “Sac State just wasn’t the experience I was looking for in college,” Hart said Friday following UC Davis’ Blue-Gold scrimmage. “It was tough because I was playing with a bunch of my really good friends (at Sacramento State) — guys I still talk to every day. But I decided to go back to Sierra, which turned out to be a positive. The opportunity here came up and it turned out to be a great decision. I’m loving everything about this place.” His address isn’t the only thing that’s changed often over the past few years. Hart made the move to defense when he started college ball. He’s now playing safety – essentially the opposite of the position at which he thrived at Del Oro. Hart passed for 14 touchdowns and ran for eight more during his senior season. He amassed more than 2,100 yards of total offense and completed 64 percent of his passes. But his speed and instincts in the secondary led college coaches to believe he’d be more valuable on defense. Hart is battling for playing time with the Aggies. He will likely see time as a backup free safety and hit the field on special teams this fall. “I’m only a sophomore, so I’m just trying to learn the defense — it’s pretty complex,” Hart said. “They realize that the kids are smart that come in here, so they load you up.” His background as a quarterback gives him an advantage when it comes to getting a beat on opposing offenses. “It gives me a feel for where the ball’s going, absolutely,” Hart said. “I can read a little bit quicker than I would otherwise.” Hart has a familiar face lining up in front of him on defense. Hunter Pahl is a freshman linebacker for the Aggies and a fellow Del Oro alum. Hart helped mentor Pahl at Del Oro, but they’re in similar situations in Davis as they’re both new to the program. “We’ve been friends, so it’s pretty cool having him here,” Hart said. Hart will get a chance to line up against a trio of former Eagle teammates on Nov. 8. Ben Chandler, Sherman and Heath will suit up for the Hornets in Davis for the Causeway Classic. Sparkling new Aggie Stadium will be the backdrop and Hart sounds like he could do some recruiting for the Aggies with the way he speaks about Davis. “Just the whole college town atmosphere is really something I appreciate,” said Hart, who plans to study environmental science. “I enjoy every aspect of this town, this school and football here.” Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Auburn Journal.