Under Armour All-American Ronald Darby (Oxon Hill, Md./Potomac) is one of the nation's fastest and most coveted prospects in the Class of 2012. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder finished the indoor track season as the nation's fastest runner in the 200- and 100-meter sprints. To date, he has 28 scholarship offers, his most recent from the national champion Auburn Tigers.
"It feels real good to have 28 [offers] and to get one from a team like Auburn," Darby said. "I never thought I would be in the position and I couldn't have done it without the help of the coaches here. They have been terrific and they got me a lot of exposure."
Darby has put himself in position to not only be one of the most sought after recruits on the East Coast but the entire country. It's something he and his coaches have worked hard at and it's something they covet.
"Ronald brings a lot of competition to our football team," Potomac coach Ronnie Crump said. "A lot of our kids want to be just as good as Ronald and they all want to compete against him and get better. We used to shy away from the recruiting thing but with the type of position he's in you can't ignore it. We have to be responsible because he's in the spotlight."
North Carolina was the first to offer Darby following his freshman season and Maryland wasn't too far behind. Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, FSU, Miami, Michigan, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC and many more have offered since. So far he has visited only Maryland. Darby plans to attend the Notre Dame spring game on April 16.
"I know I also want to check out Florida State, Alabama and South Carolina for sure," Darby said. "And now I also want to check out Auburn."
For Potomac this past season Darby played cornerback, safety, running back, receiver, kick returner and place-kicker on field goas. He rushed for 1,369 yards and 23 scores offense, recorded 47 tackles on defense as well as three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns). Darby also returned a punt and kickoff for touchdowns.
"Ronald Darby is the deluxe package," Potomac coach Ronnie Crump said. "He has electrifying speed and the uncanny ability to make the big play on offense, defense and on special teams. He's a great teammate and a great young man. Right now, he relies on his speed. He needs to learn how to read eyes and body language and that will come to him if he wants to survive in college."
He also just finished the indoor track season, which he said he started doing as a freshman just to stay competitive, and now he's gearing up for outdoor track. Last year he ran 10.5 in the 100 meters, 21.2 in the 200 meters and finished as the state champ in both events.
"Teams are recruiting me as an athlete," he said. "I have great speed to play cornerback and I play the ball well. Most coaches do see me as a defensive player but I can also play in the slot and run the ball."
While Darby doesn't have any aspirations to one day become an Olympian, he does plan on playing football and running track in college. However, his priorities are football first and track second.
"Right now I don't have a favorite school. I will make my decision after I see schools. I am looking where I can play football and run track," Darby said. "The coaching staff will be important and I want to pick a college that I am comfortable with."
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.