Darian Mallary, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound running back from Gulliver Prep High School in Miami, Fla., has helped lead his team to a perfect 6-0 record with 66 rushes for 780 yards and five touchdowns. He also has three scores on kick returns, one on a punt return and one receiving touchdown.
"I have good feet and cut-backs," Mallary said. "I'm very explosive and play with a lot of heart. I'm a shifty runner. I don't just run straight. I have great moves and am always moving my feet. I’m real elusive and you can't catch me easily.
"I'd like to get better at catching out of the backfield," he said. "I'm working on improving my hands so I'm a receiving threat too."
He says he can bench-press 305-pounds and squat 445. He also claims a 34-inch vertical jump.
Mallary has scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Iowa and Indiana and favors those three along with Colorado State, Miami and UCF. He says that Ole Miss leads slightly over the group.
"I like what they are doing at Ole Miss," he said. "They run the same offense my high school does and I think I could go there and play right away. What they did at the Swamp (beating Florida) was really impressive. I think they are moving in the right direction."
The Rebels were his first scholarship offer about three weeks ago and he says that they, along with Iowa, are recruiting him the hardest.
"I like Iowa a lot too," Mallary said. "The Big Ten is a great conference and I've heard a lot about the Big Ten atmosphere. I've been watching them on TV and they look great. They like running the ball and that really appeals to me.
"(Defensive line) coach Rick Kaczenski says they love how I'm a game changer," he said. "He said they need a player like me and that I'm the piece of the puzzle they are missing."
Mallary hasn't visited any of his favorites yet and has no official trips scheduled. "Next week I know that some Iowa and Ole Miss coaches plan to be coming by," he said. "We're going to schedule my visits then."
He says he also expects Colorado State to offer soon. "They've been talking to me as much as the others," he said. "I think they'll offer me."
Growing up, Mallary says he followed Miami, but the 'Canes never recruited him. "They are pretty set on offense," he said. "They aren't looking for any running backs."
But Mallary admits that he suspects some programs have been scared away by his size. "Some people have told me that I don't have more offers because of my size," he said.
"But any school that passes on me because of that would be making a big mistake," he said. "You don't pass on a playmaker like me."
Mallary says he's following the advice of what NFL great Clinton Portis told him. "He told me that size doesn't matter," he said. "It's all about heart. He says he's successful in the NFL because of his heart and told me not to worry about anything else."
Portis is Mallary's idol and through his cousin and a chance encounter during a Miami game, the two have struck up a close friendship. "I actually talk to him a lot," he said. "I talk with him before games and he gives me advice and helps me out.
"My cousin is friends with him and when we were at a Miami game I started talking to him," he said. "He was really cool and we actually developed a close relationship."
Mallary says he won't make a decision until after the season.
He says he wants to major in business management and follow in his family's footsteps and get into real estate. He reports a 2.6 core GPA and is waiting on the results of his SAT, which he took in early October.