Lima (OH) Central Catholic DB Darius West has hit the camp circuit hard over the summer with standout performances at Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Despite growing up as an Ohio State fan, West has since found room for Michigan alongside the Buckeyes in his top two. I caught up with Darius earlier this week to talk about his recruitment, camp performances, preferred position, and more:
ACE: How's everything going with your recruitment and which schools are in contact with you right now?
DARIUS: Everything is going real good. I've got Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Louisville, West Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, a lot of MAC schools, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky.
ACE: Out of those schools, which ones have extended you an offer so far?
DARIUS: Illinois, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Akron, and Toledo.
ACE: Do you have any favorites?
DARIUS: My two favorites are Michigan and Ohio State.
ACE: You've been to Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State camps recently. How did those go for you and what was your impression of each of the three schools?
DARIUS: The camps went really good. The Michigan State camp, I got there late, so I was only able to do one session with them. At Ohio State, the coaches were really nice, they worked me real hard, and the camp was organized with a lot of competition out there. Michigan, I really enjoyed the environment, the facilities, and the coaches taught me a lot. The Michigan State camp, I wasn't getting too much out of that camp because I got there late.
ACE: Talking about Michigan a little bit more, which coaches were you working with at the camp and what did they have to say to you both about their recruitment of you and what they thought about your game?
DARIUS: I had the cornerbacks coach and the safeties coach [Ed.-Ace: I'm assuming he's referring to Curt Mallory and a grad assistant, since Mallory coaches the whole secondary], and then I talked to the defensive coordinator [Greg Mattison] after the camp. The defensive coordinator, he told me everything, he said, "just give us a little chance, I know you're from Ohio, but keep it in mind and you'll like it if you ever come in to visit here." He was saying they're going to be all over me in the recruiting process and basically they said they would like to have me. They're recruiting me as a cornerback, so... I don't know.
ACE: Do you have a preference in terms of position? Would you rather play safety versus corner or the other way around?
DARIUS: Yeah, I want to play safety, but if they want me to play corner I'll do that too.
ACE: Do you think that would factor into a decision at all?
DARIUS: Nah, not really.
ACE: You mentioned the defensive coordinator saying you're from Ohio and asking you to give Michigan a chance. Did you grow up as an Ohio State fan and will that be a factor at all?
DARIUS: Yeah, I grew up as an Ohio State fan, but not at all [will it be a factor].
ACE: Talking about your game a little bit, what would you say are your biggest strengths on the football field and what are you trying to work on to improve both in the summer at these camps and for next season?
DARIUS: My strength is my strength, how strong I am, and my explosiveness. What I really need to work on is my hip movement because my hips are a little stiff; that's what Ohio State told me. They told me if I can get that down I can be a good player. I mean, my hips aren't bad, but they aren't where they should be to play the position I want to play.
ACE: Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, do you have any other plans in terms of camps you're attending or any visits you'd like to take, both through the summer and into the fall?
DARIUS: I would like to go back to Michigan and take a tour, because I didn't get to take the tour there, so I'd like to go there. I'm going up to Cincinnati soon. I've got one more camp in Dallas for the Underclassmen Showcase, the All-Star Camp; I'm going July 7th through the 9th.
ACE: What are the biggest factors that you're going to be looking at when you start visiting these schools and ultimately making a decision?
DARIUS: The coaching staff, that's my first impression right there. Then the facilities, the atmosphere that I'm going to be around, the players I'm going to be around, when would I get a chance to play, things like that.