Tag:ROnald Darby
Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:16 am

Notre Dame adds three, including Top 100 athlete

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Notre Dame added to an already stellar defensive back class Saturday with an impressive recruiting haul on the same day as the annual Blue and Gold Spring Game.

Headlining the trio of commitments the Irish picked up is Oxon Hill (Md.) athlete Ronald Darby. The 6-foot, 170 pound Darby is one of the fastest players in the country and held an offer from Notre Dame for quite some time. It wasn't until stepping foot on campus this weekend until everything just clicked.

“I had all my questions answered," Darby told Scout. "All the things I wanted to do on this trip I did. I got to get a good feel for the campus. They have so many great fans that already knew so much about me. They were asking for pictures and autographs. It was crazy. I was able to see how the teachers and coaches are there. They care about the students and the players. It is a special place that will take care of me for the next fifty years not just the next four."

Darby is the second ranked athlete in the class of 2012 according to CBSSports/MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming and the 26th best player overall in the class. Able to make an impact at either safety or as a slot receiver, Darby will likely suit up on the defensive side of the ball in South Bend.

“The Notre Dame fans can expect me to give 150,000%," he said. "I want to be an early enrollee. I will be a student-athlete. I will be strong in the classroom and a playmaker on the field.”

Joining him in the secondary is another talented athlete in Spring (Texas) quarterback Nicky Baratti.

“I am really excited. I saw that Ronald Darby made his commitment before the game,” Baratti told Scout. “I was going to wait until after the game, but I went ahead and said let me get this off my chest.”

Baratti played safety as a sophomore before flipping over to offense and playing quarterback for his high school team. The 6-foot-2, 210 pound athlete held offers from Arizona State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State among others.

“I really found the right spot for me at Notre Dame," he said. "It is everything I expected it to be so I wanted to get this decision out of the way and commit."

The Irish also brought on Downers Grove (Ill.) long snapper Scott Daly.

The trio gives Notre Dame five commitments for the class of 2012.

Posted on: April 5, 2011 11:52 am

2012 Athletes to Watch

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Olney (Md.) star Stefon Diggs is the top athlete in the nation according to CBS Sports/MaxPreps Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming but there's a lot of football to be played between now and Signing Day. Here's five other players - in alphabetical order - who you need to keep an eye out for this year. Each of them has a chance to move Diggs off the top spot and become the top athlete for the class of 2012.

Nelson Agholor (Berkeley Prep, Tampa, Fla.) 

Height: 6-foot-1 
Weight: 185 pounds 
Offers from: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, USF, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt

What's to like: Agholor is an exceptional athlete and does so well at both defensive back and wide receiver, it's hard to figure out which position he actually would be better at in college. He's a big play receiver and has a tremendous leaping ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air. He's fluid running routes and can sit down, catch a pass and then take off. Defensively, he plays press coverage very well and can turn and run like the best of them.

Needs to work on: There's not a lot that Agholor can't do. It would be nice to see him improve his tackling and aggressiveness.

Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove High, Elk Grove, Calif.) 

Height: 6-foot-7 
Weight: 280 pounds 
Committed to USC

What's to like: The argument could be made that Armstead is the top player in the country and top offensive tackle. He also plays along the defensive line as a mammoth defensive tackle who can really fill two gaps and explode off the line. At this point however, he seems best suited as a left tackle at the next level. His size and strength allow him to simply overpower most of the competition and he has surprising quickness and speed to boot.

Needs to work on: Because most feel he's best suited to be a tackle, staying at the position and working on pass protection would be the one thing Armstead could do to really prepare himself for college.

Ronald Darby (Potomac High, Oxon Hill, Md.) 

Height: 5-foot-11 
Weight: 180 pounds 
Offers from: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee, USC, Virginia, West Virginia

What's to like: Darby is one of the fastest players in this class and he can turn on the jets on offense and dart his way past defenders. He's very quick as well and closes on the ball as a defensive back like few others. He could fill a variety of roles on offense but might be best suited for safety in college.

Needs to work on: He still needs to learn the nuances of the safety position and could also work on his tackling if he ends up on defense.

Davonte Neal (Chaparral High, Scottsdale, Ariz.) 

Height: 5-foot-9 
Weight: 175 pounds 
Offers from: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Penn State, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC

What's to like: Neal is a firecracker on offense and a dynamic threat that can take it to the house at anytime. He is a good kick/punt returner who is shifty enough to make defenders miss. On defense, he's a solid corner who is a real ball hawk.

Needs to work on: He's a bit stiff in the hips to play corner and is so good on offense he'll likely end up on that side of the ball in college. Neal should continue to work on his speed and quickness as well.

Justin Thomas (Prattville High, Prattville, Ala.) 

Height: 5-foot-11 
Weight: 185 pounds 
Committed to Alabama

What's to like: Thomas is one of the fastest players in the state and is a legitimate threat to score because of his ability to shift into that top gear. He plays quarterback in high school mostly because he is the best player on his team but he won't be playing that position in college. His quickness and ability to make people miss is something that is pretty special.

Needs to work on: He will be raw wherever he starts out in college so trying to get some work in at receiver (likely in the slot) or at defensive back will help him adjust to his future role. Learning the little things will be his biggest challenge but he's smart enough to adjust.

Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:29 am

Rutgers Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 Top Players

Posted by Bryan Fischer

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 started it's 2011 campaign on the campus of Rutgers this past weekend and many of the top prospects from across the Northeast were looking to make an impression over the course of the two-day event.

Here's just a few of the players who stood out from the crowd.


Casey Cochran, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Monroe, Conn. 
One of the top quarterbacks on day one, Cochran was an impressive signal caller. He lacks ideal height but makes up for it with a very strong arm that can make every throw. He has a good release and throws a very pretty, catchable ball to his wide outs. He's ok on the move and can work on his weight transfer and keeping his feet closer together when in the pocket. The ball just jumps out of his hand though and he should be adding to his only offer from Boston College.

Blake Rankin, 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Bloomsburg, Pa. 
Rankin has ideal size for a pro-style quarterback and had a very nice deep ball, putting just the right amount of touch on most of them. He doesn't have the strongest arm but is very accurate and could develop into a very well-rounded quarterback. He currently has an offer from Rutgers.

Max Ward, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Steelton, Pa. 
One of the impressive things about Ward was his tight spiral on just about every ball he threw. A gunslinger, he has a cannon on his shoulder and that makes up for what he might lack in ideal height. He currently has an offer from Akron.

Kevin Olsen, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Wayne, N.J., class of 2013 
Despite being younger than many of the quarterbacks in the competition, Olsen was near or at the top. He has an excellent frame but needs to add a few pounds to it. He was a little indecisive with some throws but he also had a very quick release and above average footwork. The younger brother of Chicago Bears tight end Greg, several programs are showing interest early on.

David Sills, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Bear, Del., class of 2015 
Sills was the big name at the event as the large number of cameras trained on his every drop back would attest. The first thing you notice is his impressive size for just an eighth grader. He had a good understanding of what the defense was doing but still tried to force a few throws. He wasn't as accurate as he has been at other competition but he was maybe the most vocal leader. Seeing him go through an event like this shows why Lane Kiffin offered him a scholarship as a eighth grader.

Brandon Napoleon, 6-foot, 175 pounds, Jersey City, N.J. 
Napoleon is being recruited as an athlete but he was impressive as a quarterback at the event. He threw a nice ball with some zip and a spiral every time. He's light on his feet and can make every throw on the field. Holding double digit offers, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and North Carolina among them.

Ryan Burns, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, Ashburn, Va., class of 2013 
A big quarterback with a decent drop back, he showed off a very big arm and quick release better than most of the older quarterbacks. His feet get too wide at times which causes him to use almost all arm on some throws. That said, he can throw the ball into any window and already has an offer from Boston College.

Wide receivers

Deontay McManus, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Baltimore, Md. 
One of the top players at the competition, McManus is being pursued by just about every program in the country. A long-strider when he gets going, McManus is more fast than quick. He displayed some impressive ball skills and attacked the ball in the air, rarely letting anything get by him that was thrown his way. Despite his skills at wide receiver, it wouldn't be too surprising to see him move to safety or even outside linebacker in college. His double digit offer list includes Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Tennessee among others.

Stefon Diggs, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Olney, Md. 
Diggs was easily one of the top receivers in the competition and was explosive everywhere he went. One of the fastest players on the field with great feet that allowed him to turn on a dime, Diggs was very aware of where the defenders were and would slow it down in order to find open spots in zone coverage. An Army All-American Bowl invitee, he has offers from Alabama, Cal, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame and others. He said he will likely pick a school outside of the northeast.

Anthony Cooper, 6-foot, 180 pounds, Virginia Beach, Va. 
A speedy wide out on a team full of them, Cooper stood out with his impressive ability to catch and run. He also plays defensive back and had a very nice back pedal and good change of direction. Local programs Virginia and Virginia Tech have already offered.

Romond Deloatch, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Hampton, Va. 
Physically the most impressive receiver at the event, Deloatch was a nightmare for opposing defensive backs to cover. He's still a bit raw but displayed quick feet and a good ability to turn on a route quickly. Very fluid while running routes, he's a bit reminiscent of class of 2011 receiver Quinta Funderburk. During one play, he snatched the ball out of a corner's hand on a fade route. He has offers from Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia.

Tight end

Charles Tapper, 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Baltimore, Md. 
One of the most physically imposing recruits at the event, Tapper didn't play too much. He will likely be a defensive end or outside linebacker in college but he did flash some potential at tight end. He just picked up an offer from Oklahoma and should be receiving more as the weeks go on.

Kalief Joyner, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Middle Village, N.Y 
More of a receiving tight end in this event and likely at the next level, Joyner has good height and does a solid job of getting off the line. He's not super fast or quick but he does go over the middle and finds spots in zone coverage. He has great hands and several programs are on the verge of offering.

Devin Funchess, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Farmington Hills, Mich. 
A very tall target, Funchess needs to start packing on the pounds to play tight end. He doesn't have great speed as a receiver but could be very good at tight end with his hands and moves in space. Michigan and Michigan State are among the schools to offer.

Defensive back

Brandon Banks, 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Brandywine, Md. 
An impressive performance over the weekend from Banks, who might have been the top corner on the field this weekend. A bit skinny, he still wouldn't give up any ground to opposing wide receivers. Fast and smooth, he sinks well when playing in cover-2 and excelled in man coverage. He got to top speed quickly and no receiver was able to create much separation. He currently has an offer from Maryland but should be collecting more soon.

Ronald Darby, 6-foot, 180 pounds, Oak Hill, Md. 
Darby was one of the top players at the event and has seen just about every program send out an offer to him. One of, if not the, fastest players running around the field, he played mostly on defense at safety before eventually playing on both sides of the ball. He was very impressive in coverage with a good backpedal and quick turn to break on the ball. He holds offers from Miami, Florida State, USC, Notre Dame and others and has five-star potential at multiple positions.

Devin Fuller, 6-foot, 185 pounds, Old Tappan, N.J. 
Fuller played on both sides of the ball but stayed mainly in the secondary. He could play a number of positions in college, from quarterback to cornerback to receiver and is being recruited as such. He has very quick feet and reacts well to what is being thrown at him. He was very fluid at cornerback and safety and might be best suited there. He currently has offers from Michigan, Florida State, Maryland, Rutgers and Penn State among others.


Dorian O'Daniel, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Olney, Md., class of 2013 
A running back and linebacker, O'Daniel looked a tad better playing on defense for the Maryland Speed. He has excellent closing speed but did tend to guess a little bit after his initial drop into coverage. He's very physical and despite being just a sophomore, already holds offers from Maryland, N.C. State, Pitt and Virginia.

Eli Ankou, 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 
Easily the best player at the event from north of the border, Ankou turned a few heads with his size and agility. He was pretty good side-to-side and played on the balls of his feet. His hips are a bit stiff in coverage but he runs well enough to chase faster players down.

Kenny Bigelow, 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Bear, Del., class of 2013 
He will play defensive end at his size but he came out and competed at linebacker at this event. He was a little too upright and needs to bend at the hips more when standing up but for a young defensive end, did pretty well. At his size, he could develop into a strong side defensive end or slim down and play outside linebacker if needed. He has an offer from Auburn already and is very impressive for a sophomore.

Abner Logan, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Salem, Mass. 
One of the best linebackers in coverage, he could be a great fit at outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. He was a tad stiff at times but he has a great base and is very fluid when moving around. He might be a name that starts to receive offers by the bucketload as the summer progresses based on what he showed over the weekend.

Jazzmar Clax, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, Freehold, N.J. 
Already on the 2012 All-Name team, Clax looked like a good fit as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He was above average on his coverage drops and opened his hips nicely to turn and run. He has an offer from Rutgers.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com