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Standard 10: Blue Devils’ Toney commands all the attention

August 14, 2018

KeShawn Toney is the kind of athlete that’s hard to miss on the football field, no matter where you look during a Williston-Elko game.

There he is at wide receiver, towering over and running past a helpless defensive back for a reception or crushing him with a block to free up the sideline for the running back.

There he is in the backfield, grinding out yards in short-yardage situations.

There he is up front defensively, harassing opposing quarterbacks as much as he helps his own.

And there he is on special teams, terrifying opposing punters and perhaps soon waiting to return their kicks.

“Any time that you have a kid like KeShawn – he’s a big kid, he’s 6-4, 240 – everybody knows who he is before they even turn the film on,” said Williston-Elko head coach Derek Youngblood.

Toney has recorded a stat in nearly every category over the last three seasons, and he’s found the end zone on offense, defense and special teams. The special teams scores have been the most amusing, as the sheer sight of seeing a charging Toney has caused more than one punter to bail out on the play.

“Some of them just happen, though,” he said with a laugh. “A couple of them just happen. Like the Woodland game, I can’t really explain that. The Silver Bluff game, I can’t explain that one, either.”

The attention hasn’t just come from high school coaches and fellow players. Toney, a University of South Carolina commit, knew he would one day play college football, but he first realized how big that could be during his sophomore year when he received an offer from Georgia State. The recruiting only heated up from there.

“It’s been fun, saying that a bunch of people know my name and that I get to get a bunch of recognition,” Toney said of the recruiting process. “It’s taught me a lot; it’s taught me to remain humble, taught me how to be a leader. That’s really it. It’s been fun. Just enjoying the process, really, because you only get this one time.”

So with all eyes on Toney, it’s even more important that he sets the right example for his teammates.

“Really, just be vocal, play like I’ve been playing and hold everyone accountable,” he said. “If you hold everybody accountable to what you want the expectations to be, then you should be all right.”