Willis Considering Only Four

Franklin Central tailback Darius Willis - Scout.com's 22nd-ranked player in the Midwest Region - is garnering recruiting interest nationally. But the 6-0, 210-pounder has turned his attention to four local programs as potential college destinations...

Bloomington, Ind. – Darius Willis had one question for Franklin Central H.S. coach Lance Scheib after the two were invited guests for the colossal Michigan-Ohio State football game in Columbus last November.

"I asked Darius, ‘what did you think?'" Scheib said. "And he said, ‘which one has the best business school?' And I was like, ‘Good God.'

"That's great to hear a kid say that, but in this day and age, you don't hear that too often."

It might be a rarity, but that's the approach the 6-0, 210-pound tailback is taking. While programs from around the country have been calling to inquire about Scout.com's 22nd-ranked player in the Midwest region, Scheib said things haven't gotten out of hand because Willis doesn't want that to happen.

"I'm not sending out tape," Scheib said. "He wants to stay with the schools that have offered, and he's really happy with that group. He said, ‘coach, don't sent out any more tape. I'm going to be a Midwest kid. I love Indiana.'

"Everyone is so caught up in wanting to go to the ‘best school,' or wherever it might be, but for Darius, he wants to go to the business school."

And that's why Willis appears to be considering just four programs according to Scheib – Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame and Illinois. Willis attended Junior Days at each of those four schools, and all except Notre Dame have offered a scholarship.

"We'll see what happens, but up to this point, he hasn't wavered from the places he wanted to visit and go see," Scheib said. "He's getting a lot of looks because his track times are getting really good. But he's still said he doesn't have much interest in the SEC, and he really wants to stay around here. And I said, ‘Good for you.'"

That's also good news for the four schools that appear to be on his short list. Willis is coming off a big junior year, carrying the ball 231 times for 1,277 yards and 15 touchdowns. He's also a standout in track, having recently run a :10.8 in the 100-meters and :21.9 in the 200. Thanks to that combination of size and speed, he's emerged as the top-ranked running back in the state of Indiana in the Class of 2008, and is a player IU and Assistant Coach Billy Lynch has recruited extremely hard.

"(Lynch) has done a fantastic job of recruiting Darius," Scheib said. "I'd say by far IU has done the best job, hands down, on how good a job they've done recruiting him. I just talked to Billy the other day, and he and Coach (Gerald) Brown have developed a really good relationship with Darius. That's been nice to see."

Indiana not only likes the fact that he's talented in-state recruit, but also that he's the sort of running back it doesn't have right now in its stable of ball carriers.

"I think their biggest interest in Darius is he's a big back, and that's something they don't necessarily have, with as fast as he is," Scheib said. "I think they like the fact he has great character. Probably the biggest thing is a kid who's 6-0 and 210 and runs that fast."

While Willis has pretty much closed the door on potential suitors, that doesn't necessarily mean his decision is imminent. Scheib had originally hoped his standout would make a commitment before his high school season began, but he doesn't necessarily think that will be the case.

"I wish he would (commit early), but there's probably no chance," Scheib said. "I just think it's going to get hectic. But if we can limit it to four or five schools that are going to recruit him, it shouldn't' be a bad fall for us."


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