RECRUITING: Baldwin aims for State Title

It might be safe to call Darin Baldwin the resident hurricane expert of the recruiting class of 2006. He probably knows more about them than any high school football player in the country since his family has been affected by the big storms so many times. When Gator Country caught up with Baldwin over the weekend he was helping his family prepare for Hurricane Wilma.

(See Darin Baldwin profile)

Baldwin is a 6-0, 170-pound corner from Homestead (FL) South Dade. Hurricanes have had a profound effect on his life. Back in 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed his family home in Homestead and as a result, he lived in Gainesville for a couple of years. Earlier this year, his family faced flooding when Hurricane Katrina did its dance across the state before it became a true monster storm in the Gulf of Mexico. And now, there was Hurricane Wilma to worry about. Despite the run-ins with hurricanes, Baldwin's family was set to ride out Wilma.

"We are putting up shutters right now, we are just going to put them up and stick it out," Baldwin said Sunday afternoon. "Right now the winds are at 100 mph but the hurricane won't be here till Monday."

Hurricanes aside, Baldwin has put recruiting on hold temporarily. South Dade is undefeated at 7-0, having just won the district championship over defending state Class 6A champion Miami Killian. Given the history of Dade County teams in the state playoffs, it's no wonder that South Dade has its sights set on bringing home the big trophy this year. Baldwin doesn't want anything to interfere with his concentration on doing everything he can to help South Dade win a state championship.

"Really, I just want to finish the season and then my dad and my coach are going to help me look around," he said. "I am not worried about college because I think we are going to make it to state."

South Dade took a big step toward making that dream of a state title come true this past Friday night.

"We won Friday … we beat Killian, 23-6," he said. "Their only score came with two minutes left in the game. I had two forced fumbles in the game. For the season I have three interceptions, two sacks, and three kick off returns for touchdowns."

He won't name favorites in the recruiting process but he says the Florida Gators are making regular contact. He is planning to take all five of his official visits, too.

"The Gators are probably recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I will take all five visits when the season is over."

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