Darryl Baldwin, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound four-star defensive end from Solon, Ohio, finished his junior season with 40 tackles and six sacks.
“I’m long and tall and give the quarterback a lot of trouble,” Baldwin said. “They can’t see over me and I’m a real good pass rusher.
“I can take on blockers well too because I’m pretty physical,” he said. “But I want to work on using my hands better and improve my tackling. I need to wrap up the tackle and work on driving through my tackles.”
Baldwin says he can bench 330-pounds and squat 380.
As of the first half of March, Baldwin admits that a solid leader has emerged – Ohio State.
“They are number one,” he said. “Michigan State is high up there too. Those are the top two right now.”
Trailing the Buckeyes and Spartans are Michigan, Notre Dame and Duke. All of his favorites have offered as well as West Virginia, Illinois and Cincinnati, among others.
“Growing up in Ohio, I always followed Ohio State,” Baldwin said. “I would watch them all the time and they are only about two hours from here.”
Baldwin admits that the distance will play a role in his decision. “I definitely don’t want to go too far away,” he said. “I’d much rather stay close. I think Duke is the farthest I’d think about going.”
Another bonus the Buckeyes have in their favor is the preference of Baldwin’s mom. “She would really like me to go to Ohio State,” he said. “And that’s gonna be big. She’s gonna be helping me with my decision for sure. She’s the one that’s been helping me with all this, so I’ll be listening to what she has to say.”
While the Buckeyes are his top choice, Baldwin says Michigan State is working hard to get ahead. “They probably send the most mail,” he said. “Plus they also email my mom a lot. They are definitely trying to win her over.”
Baldwin attended the Spartans Junior Day and says he had a great time. “It was really good,” he said. “I loved the facilities. They probably have the nicest facilities that I’ve seen.”
In addition to the facilities in East Lansing, Baldwin says that the Spartan coaches also stood out. “The coaches really do a good job to show that they care about you as an individual and not just a football player,” he said. “I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with them.”
Although Baldwin says he doesn’t have any camps or combines planned for the spring and summer, he looks forward to seeing Notre Dame.
“I just want to see what it’s like over there for myself,” he said. “It’s all about the tradition over there and I love that. They are an amazing program that is usually pretty good.
“I also really like coach Charlie Weis. I think he’s got some good ideas and I’m eager to go talk to him,” he said.
The odd man out in Baldwin’s list seems to be Duke, but Baldwin says he sees a lot of potential in the Blue Devils. “I feel like Duke is really going places,” he said. “I could see them becoming a powerhouse in the next couple of years and really surprise people.”
While the words “Duke” and “powerhouse” usually aren’t used together, the signing of prospects like Baldwin can only change that perception.
Of course the Blue Devils have a lot of ground to make up if they are going to beat the Buckeyes and others for Baldwin’s signature.
“It’s still pretty early,” he said. “I plan on waiting it out. I want to make the best decision for me and really be sure about it.”
Baldwin says he plans on majoring in engineering and reports a 3.4 core GPA but hasn’t taken the SAT or ACT yet.