Darin Drakeford, the 6-foot, 225-pound three-star weakside linebacker from Roosevelt High School in Washington, DC, has 10 scholarship offers and continues to narrow down his focus.
"I don't really have a favorite school yet," Drakeford said. "By January I'd like to have made my decision. If not, then I'll just wait until signing day. I want to find a place where I can see myself living for the next four to five years. I'd also like to play for a winning team."
While continuing to deny a leader, Drakeford favors Duke, Maryland, Illinois and Pittsburgh. He says he also has offers from Ohio, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Michigan and Michigan State, but admits that neither the Wolverines nor the Spartans are currently throwing much interest his way.
"Michigan and Michigan State offered me during the summer," Drakeford said. "But I haven't really heard from them since then. They aren't recruiting me much except for a few letters every now and then."
The school recruiting Drakeford the hardest is Maryland. The Terps are also his mom's favorite. "They are only like 40 minutes away and my mom would really like to see me play," he said. "But I’m not really too worried about staying close. That's not an issue."
Drakeford, ranked as the No. 42 weakside linebacker in the country by Scout.com, plans to visit the Terps in December, but doesn't have a date set. "I really like their defense," he said. "They've produced some good players and sent some guys to the league."
He attended the Maryland home opener when they took on Delaware and says he enjoyed himself. "It's definitely a lot more fun than a high school game," he laughed. "I like all the fans and people that show up. It gets crazy."
Drakeford also plans on visiting Duke in December, but hasn't set up that date either. "My younger sister went on a college tour to Duke over the summer and she loved the campus," he said. "She said that I'd definitely like it.
"Plus, I like how well they are playing right now," Drakeford said of the Blue Devils. "They seem like an up-and-coming team with a great future. The coaches said their goal was to win the ACC championship."
Over the summer, Drakeford attended camps at Illinois, Pittsburgh and Maryland.
"Illinois is a real nice place," he said. "I really liked Champaign. It's a college town so there wasn't many people around during the summer, but I still liked it. It seems like a great place.
"Pittsburgh was pretty good too," Drakeford said. "They have really nice practice facilities and they seem like another school that is up-and-coming."
The Panthers are the only school that is recruiting Drakeford for both defense and offense. "They've talked with me about possibly playing wide receiver too," he said.
Drakeford says he didn't follow football as a youngster. "I was always more of a basketball fan," he said. "I didn't get into football until high school.
"My old basketball coach was also a football coach and he saw how physical I was and suggested that I try out for football and I did," he said.
Roosevelt High School is currently 3-4 and Drakeford has 42 tackles and seven sacks.
As a junior, Drakeford had 94 tackles, 22 sacks, eight fumbles caused, three fumbles recovered and one interception. Offensively, he had 31 catches for around 500 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had two touchdowns on the ground.
"I'm good from sideline-to-sideline," he said. "I also read the field well and can play quick. I'm very aggressive and I always want to be in on the big play and get the job done."
He says he can bench press 265-pounds and reports a 38-inch vertical jump.
"I'd love to improve on reading the offensive line and locating the play action better," he said. "I also want to get faster and improve my movement in small spaces."
Drakeford reports a 2.8 core GPA and a 900 SAT, which he plans on retaking.