September 14, 2011

Darby will take officials

To say that the first couple of weeks of the college football season have been frustrating for Notre Dame fans would be an understatement. Many believed this would be the year the Irish reestablished themselves on the national scene, but an 0-2 start has put a damper on things.

Close losses to South Florida and most recently Michigan have Notre Dame looking for answers. ND has put together a solid recruiting class and Ronald Darby is one of the top prospects that's on board.

Darby, a four-star cornerback from Oxon Hill (Md.) Potomac, gave his verbal pledge to Brian Kelly and the Irish back in April. The combination of academics and football prestige in South Bend, plus the opportunity to run track in college, was just too good for him to pass up, even though he gave strong consideration to schools like North Carolina and Maryland before making his choice.

In spite of the commitment it soon became clear that Darby would continue to visit schools, even though he has called himself a solid commitment to Notre Dame all along. He has said that the conversations he has with coaches from schools other than Notre Dame only take place out of respect. There is, however, an ever-so-slight possibility that he could end up somewhere else.

This week Darby said he was 98-percent sure he will end up with Notre Dame on National Signing Day. That bodes well for ND, but he's leaving open the possibility that something else might happen. Darby isn't down because of the program's two early losses, but what would happen if they drop a third to Michigan State this weekend?

"I'm not sure," he laughed. "If it's mistakes then I can deal with it."

Notre Dame has recruited Darby as a cornerback and he will showcase his speed at the position. As a track star, Darby has run the 100 meters in 10.41 seconds. Some coaches would love to get the ball to a guy with that kind of speed.

"That's why I do special teams," Darby noted. "ND is talking about me doing a little bit of slot as well."

Darby's official visit to Notre Dame is this weekend and he's excited about being a part of that atmosphere that drew him to the school in the first place. It won't be the first game he has attended this year.

He was at Maryland for their season opening win against Miami a couple of weeks back.

"Maryland was a good time," he recalled. "They played a really good game against a good school so I enjoyed myself there. The student section was real good."

Darby said he won't be taking an official visit to Maryland. That doesn't mean the Terps are out of the running. In fact, they're still in the back of his mind.

"I'm committed (to Notre Dame) but you could say that," Darby said, confirming that he's still thinking about the Terps.

He also added that he's a fan of Maryland's polarizing new uniforms. Who else is he still keeping an eye on?

"Florida, and I'm going to have to say Tennessee, USC, Cal ... there are a couple of schools but I'm still committed," he said.

Only one of those schools, other than Notre Dame, is a lock to receive an official visit from Darby, the nation's No. 7 corner.

"Right now all I know is I'm going to Florida and Notre Dame," Darby noted. "I might go on a couple more visits but I'm not sure."

Darby said he doesn't have the date for the official visit to Florida just yet.

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