The Evaluation Period is always busy for junior prospects and coaching staffs alike, and this holds especially true in the case of Darius Fullwod. As one of the premiere athletes in the Maryland / Virginia / DC area, Fullwood has made a name for himself coming out of Good Counsel, the school of current Michigan cornerback Blake Countess.
At the defensive end position, Fullwood has received marks as a three-star talent, although he is receiving attention on par with that of four and five-stars across the country. Checking in at 6'5" and 245 lbs., Fullwood has great size for a junior, but what is most impressive is his ability to carry this weight without losing any quickness. As players bulk up, they tend to lose a fraction of a second coming off the line, but this is not the case for Darius. His junior highlight tape can be seen here.
"I think my game has a lot to do with my speed and quickness," said Fullwood. "During my sophomore to junior year, I transitioned to using more of my speed to go with my strength as far as playing the line. I think it went very well as I started using my speed and quickness to get past that first line and around the quarterback. I think that helped me a lot with my game. I think as I made the transition from sophomore to junior year, they've evened out. I've been using my pass rush since I was younger, so that's a bit more dominant. I do think that my work in the run game has caught up."
This tendency to blow past offensive tackles thanks to an array of pass rush moves has planted Darius as one of the top junior defensive ends on Michigan's board. Defensive back coach Curt Mallory is Michigan's regional recruiter for Fullwood's area, and Mallory was in to see Fullwood not too long ago.
"Coach Mallory came up to the school recently and I talked to him a few minutes," said Fullwood. "I've been talking to him on Facebook and chatting with him on Facebook. He wanted to make sure I definitely stay in contact with him. Michiga nis definitely a school that I would take high interest in. With all the tradition that they have and how I've always grown up watching Michigan as an elite team with Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner and all those good players. Blake Countess is up there and he went to my school too."
It is apparent that Darius has a solid base of knowledge about the Michigan program, and the connection with Good Counsel alum Blake Countess can only benefit the Wolverines. With the rich history that surrounds Michigan football, Fullwood is impressed by the Wolverines and would like to receive an offer sooner rather than later. It also sounds like Michigan would be in good position if they were to do so.
"Hopefully they offer," said Fullwood. "I hope so. We are getting into Signing Day, so hopefully after that a lot of these schools will focus on the 2015 class after they wrap up 2014. So hopefully an offer from Michigan is coming soon. If Michigan were to offer me, I would have to make that one of my top priorities."
Fullwood's recruitment would not be cut and dry even if Michigan does offer, though, as plenty of other schools have already extended an offer his way and are continuing to recruit the Good Counsel standout. The past two weeks have been especially busy, as Fullwood has received offers from Miami (FL), Ohio State and Alabama offered the day after our conversation.
"So far the ones that standout are Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Georgia Tech and Miami (FL)," said Fullwood.
While these schools are all very different, they do share one commonality- they are not on the West coast. While distance from home is not a major factor per se, it is an aspect that favors schools closer to his hometown in Washington D.C.
"I have never been to a West coast school, but I'm keeping in consideration how far my family and friends have to travel to see me," said Fullwood. "It's nice that a lot of East coast schools are recruiting me, but if there was a West coast school that I actually liked then I would have to make it work."
In addition to the proximity from home, several other components look to influence his decision on which school he will attend down the road. As with most other student-athletes, Darius is trying to put himself in the best position to succeed down the road- wherever that may be.
"I want a school that treats me like family since I'll be away from home for four years," said Fullwood. "I want to make sure the school I go to feels like home and has a good community and good fan base. I want a good opportunity after I graduate and get my degree. I want to major in Business, so wherever I have the opportunity to apply for a good job after school in case I don't make it to the NFL."
With college visits heating up across the nation, Fullwood will look to take his fair share of visits and evaluate his prospective suitors as well. With a long list of colleges in the mix, Darius will take his time before deciding where to take his official visits.
"I will probably try to choose where I want to go visit in May. I definitely want to make sure I make some visits. Most likely it will be for Junior Days or Spring Days. A lot of Big Ten and ACC schools is where I want to be in the Spring. Those are two offers that have been recruiting me a lot."