Chicago Running Back Attends Tide Practice

Darnell Ratciff, from Chicago-Martin Luther King Jr. (Ill.), was in Tuscaloosa for an unofficial visit to check-out the Tide's first practice of the spring.

"I thought the practice was excellent," said Darnell Ratcliff. "They ran a few drills that I plan to take back to Chicago with me. I thought the guys would be a lot bigger, but some of the running backs were my size. I feel like I could compete with them."

"I was very impressed with the running backs. I think they are all good backs. They are tall and big. They seem like power backs. I have seen a few of them on TV before, and they are good."

The 5-11, 187-pound back enjoyed spending time with running backs coach Sparky Woods.

"I think all the coaches at Alabama are excellent," Ratcliff said. "Coach Woods was extremely nice. He took the time to show me around the facilities. He showed me the weight room, and I thought it was really nice. All the coaches seemed like they took time out to explain anything to anybody. They care about their players."

Ratcliff grew up following the Crimson Tide with his late grandmother from Alabama.

When asked his favorite school Ratcliff replied, "Alabama is my overall favorite right now. It's a great school, and I would love to play there."

"I like Illinois as well. They have shown me about the same amount of interest as Alabama. They have great facilities and a great weight room."

Ratcliffe has attracted the interest of several other programs as well.

"I have been receiving interest from Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, Wisconsin and Louisville," he said. "I have attended Junior Days at Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio State. I am attending Michigan State's Junior Day as well."

Ratcliff was named All-Conference the past three seasons, and he recorded over 1,500 yards on 200 carries with 20 touchdowns during his junior campaign. He sees room for improvement before his senior season.

"I feel like my speed (4.50-40-yard-dash) is one of my biggest strengths," Ratcliff said. "I am a slash back. I like to cut and make people miss. I consider my strength and my mind strengths of mine as well."

"I would like to continue to work on my speed and strength before next season."

Ratcliff knows what he is seeking in his college decision and shared, "I am looking for a place with good academics and a place that shows the most interest in me."

Ratcliff holds a 2.5 GPA and will take the ACT for the first time in April.

He plans to attend summer camps at Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State and Illinois.

Ratcliff will return to Tuscaloosa April 29 for the Scout.com All- American Combine.


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