Recruiting has changed from the days when prospects would wait until Signing Day to make the announcement on where they are going to college. The new trend is recruits committing to schools as early as they can, which is often when only a verbal offer is extended. Over the summer defensive lineman Darius Cummings became the first commitment of 2010 after he got a chance to see the school and work with some of the coaches. Since committing the 6'3" 258 pound athlete has been gearing up for his junior season. According to Cummings the season has been going as planned thus far.
"This season is going well for me so far," said Cummings. "Last Friday we won 64-0 which put us at 3-1 on the season. I didn't play that much in the game because it was a blowout. On the season I have a couple sacks, 36 tackles and 5 tackles for loss. I've been getting double-teamed a lot so I've been working hard this year."
Cummings says he committed to Florida State over the summer because he likes defensive line coach Odell Haggins. He says that since his commitment several schools have been in contact with him as they are attempting to get him to change his mind. So far, as Darius says, he remains solid to FSU because he talks to Coach Haggins up to 3 times a week.
"I've been getting at least 10 letters a week from Florida State, Florida, USF, Miami and schools like that," stated Cummings about his recruitment picking up. "Notre Dame, Auburn and Tennessee have been contacting me too. I talked some to Coach Meyer at Florida a couple times; he's trying to get me to come to some games."
"I really like Coach Haggins," continued Cummings. "I talk to him like 3 times per week. I like how the defense plays and usually he'll call after a game to talk about what I thought about the game. He called me after the Colorado game and I told him I thought they are big and played fast. That is my kind of defense."
Cummings was in town for the game against Wake Forest a few weeks ago to take in his first game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Even though the team struggled in the loss he says nothing about the visit made him think twice about his commitment. In fact the visit showed him that he's made the right choice.
"I visited when they played Wake," explained Cummings, "and they accepted me with open arms. I got a chance to talk to Coach Bowden which was cool because a lot of players never get that opportunity. I feel like he is one of the greatest of all time so it was an honor to talk to him. He was telling me he was excited they got me early."
"Even though they lost it didn't bother me," said Cummings about the visit. "Everyone loses sometimes. The offense had an off night, but I was looking a lot at the defense. The atmosphere at the game had me pumped up. I was standing there on the sidelines watching them get ready and I was ready to get in and play. Overall the visit showed me I made the right choice because they have a good background and they are a good place with good people. I've always loved them and I feel it's the right fit for my future."
Another aspect that in new in recruiting is commitments still taking visits. FSU long has been a program that encouraged kids to make visits if they felt the need. Cummings told NoleDigest that is another reason why he likes FSU so much; he plans on taking some visits throughout his recruitment, and they are okay with it.
"I'm going to take my visits," said Cummings. "I was talking to the President of the school and was telling me I should (take the visits). Other schools would tell me I can't do that. FSU is confident in what they do and I like that about them. I want to go to FSU because of the style of defense they play. Other schools may have that style but it isn't FSU. I also want to play for Coach Haggins because he has a good track record of developing his guys. If I come in and do my job I think I can be another guy who Coach Haggins develops."
Cummings has no bones about stating that he is solid to FSU. It was expected that with the early commitment that he's still take visits, and right now he has some lined up to the schools that join FSU in his top list of schools.
"Along with FSU there's LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida in my top 5 schools," said Cummings about who is on his list of schools he likes. "Next week I'm going to go to the Florida/LSU game and I plan on going to the FSU/Florida game. Those are the only visits I have lined up now. I want to try to make as many FSU games this year that I can. I know my senior year I plan on going to every home game they have."
Right now Cummings doesn't have a designated spot on the defensive line where the coaches want him to play. Darius says Coach Haggins has told him it all depends on how his body develops over the next year and half.
"I'm 6'3" and 258 pounds right now," stated Cummings. "Coach (Haggins) told me that where I'll play depends on if I keep growing or not. If I stay this height but get bigger I will play tackle, but if I keep getting taller and can't add the weight I'll play end. I'm not sure if I will get taller or not but I know I will get heavier. Basically last week I weighed 250. I've been working out hard and drinking Muscle Milk every day do I have been able to put on the weight. I've been able to keep my speed, too. Every month we run the 40 because college coaches always ask our coaches what we run (in the 40). Last month I ran a 4.89 and this month I ran a 4.82. I feel faster when I'm getting to the football. I've also been working with the Hit Center in Jacksonville to improve my speed. I'm just trying to work hard to perfect my game so when I get to FSU I will be ready to go."
Darius is an excellent prospect who will add to the great defensive line class the Noles have for 2009. If he continues to develop like he has this year FSU could have one of the nastiest defensive fronts in the nation very soon. Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Darius' junior season and his recruitment up until Signing Day 2010.