Dantzler sets high standard with Bulldogs

Cameron Dantzler

Staff Writer

Mississippi State coaches felt like they struck gold when they took Cameron Dantzler out of Louisiana three years ago, and he’s hoping to prove them right this season.

As a redshirt freshman, Dantzler got a chance to see the field and become a vital part of the secondary as the year went on. He finished with 25 tackles, four pass deflections, two tackles for loss and an interception. All things considered, he was pleased with his performance, but he’s set a higher standard for himself now that he’s a year older.

“In my first year, I was kind of nervous, but going into this year, I’m very confident in my game,” Dantzler said. “I got bigger, stronger and faster and I’ve been studying over my plays, so I feel like my IQ has gotten better than last year.”

Dantzler has a long frame and an athletic skill set that allows him to be a playmaker in the secondary. He’s also proven not to be afraid to come up and put a lick on a receiver or a running back in the flats or behind the line of scrimmage.

All of that makes for a well-rounded defender who could put together some big seasons ahead.

“I’m very aggressive," Dantzler said. "I’m a 6-3 corner so I’m long, fast and physical for my size. I bring a lot to the table. Over the summer, I’ve been working on my game and my understanding so it will make things easier on me. I feel like I’ve matured a lot.”

With the intangibles that Dantzler possesses as well as his build and even his former jersey number of 13, he’s drawn several comparisons to former MSU cornerback Johnthan Banks. Dantzler said that the two actually have a good relationship and Banks has known him since his recruitment.

The comparisons flatter Dantzler and it’s one of his goals to reach the same status that Banks did during his time in Starkville just five years ago.

“Me and Johnthan actually talk about that a lot and I think it’s a good thing,” Dantzler said. “He won the Jim Thorpe award and that’s something that I’m trying to achieve this year or next year. To be compared to one of the best cornerbacks to come out of Mississippi State is a blessing.”

It drives Dantzler to get better daily when thinking about Banks accomplishments, but he’s also being driven by the upgrade in Bulldog wide receivers.

MSU was one of the most unproductive passing offenses in the Southeastern Conference a year ago but have gotten a boost out of newcomers like Stephen Guidry and Devonta Jason. It’s made Dantzler a better player, he said.

“We compete every day to make each other better,” Dantzler said of the wide outs. “Our whole receiving corp got better from last year and it’s just helped my game out just staying with those guys and going against them every day.”

As his game progresses, he also looks to help out the games of the future corners. The Bulldogs added two freshmen in Mississippi standouts Jaylon Reed and Esaias Furdge, who Dantzler sees a little bit of himself in so far.

“They’ve been doing good," Dantzler said. "A lot of the young guys have to stay in their playbook, so they know what they’re doing. It’s similar to my freshman year coming in how I didn’t know the plays, so I was scared to mess up and I was hesitant. I let them know to stay in their playbook and they’ll be alright.”

A season older and a season wiser, Dantzler is excited about what is to come. This fall will likely see him become a starter for the first time in his young career and that's one goal marked off of the list.

He has high hopes for the upcoming season for both the team and for himself and isn’t shy on what he wants to come from this year.

“As a team, I want to win the SEC Championship and have an undefeated season winning the national championship,” Dantzler said. “Individually, I’d like to win the Jim Thorpe award and be one of the top corners in the SEC and even the country.”