Attention Not Getting to Willis

Life in the recruiting crosshairs hasn't been too difficult for the man who is arguably IU's No. 1 target for the 2008 class, tailback Darius Willis...

Bloomington, Ind. – Life as a highly-coveted recruit hasn't been very difficult for Darius Willis.

The 6-1, 215-pound tailback from Indianapolis' Franklin Central H.S. is's 22nd ranked tailback nationally, the sort of lofty ranking that comes with both the good and the bad of college recruiting. The scholarship offers that generally follow are welcomed by recruits, but the bevy of phone calls and text messages from coaches and media isn't always as well received.

But Willis hasn't had to cope with a few of the nuisances that others have.

"If you ask him, the process is easy because no one can talk to him," said Willis' Franklin Central Coach, Lance Scheib. "When you're not talking to (the media), the coaches, and not getting text messages, it's pretty easy."

Unlike many recruits as well as kids his age, Willis doesn't have a cell phone. That eliminates the possibility of being inundated with text messages by college coaches. But Scheib and Willis have also come up with a plan for the fall to help Willis navigate his way through his recruitment.

Scheib said they will designate two days for college coaches to call Willis, most likely Sunday and Monday. Any phone calls on other days won't be fielded and, quite honestly, won't be very well received.

It's a strategy that Scheib formulated after seeing what unfolded for one of his former players, Donald Washington. The eventual Ohio State signee was overwhelmed by the quantity of calls and text messages throughout the process, and Scheib didn't want Willis to have the same sort of experience.

"I made that mistake with Donald, and I wanted to rectify that with Darius," Scheib said.

The strategy might be a bit frustrating for coaches who would like to communicate with Willis more frequently, but it's taken some of the pressure off of one of the state's elite recruits in the 2008 class. It's also enabled Willis to be patient while examining and evaluating schools. While more and more recruits are committing early, Scheib said there's no doubt Willis will remain uncommitted until after his senior season.

"There have been some schools that have tried to come in and say we need this done, and I've said then move on, because he's not ready to commit," Scheib said. "He's stuck to his guns, and I give him credit for that."

While Willis will wait to commit, he's still looking very closely at his options. Among the programs he's considering are Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota N.C. State, Virginia and Maryland. He's made unofficial visits to many of the schools on his list, including one to Indiana the first week of July.

So will Willis be worth the wait for everyone on his list? While a few may to look in other directions as the process wears on, he does have the sort of tools that will make most of the schools on his list wait as long as they need to for an answer.

‘He has size, strength and speed, where most other people lack one of the three," Scheib said. "He is 215 pounds. He's over 1,000 on three lifts, and he runs 4.31. That doesn't happen…Guys that are as fast and strong as he is are 180 and are 5-8 or 5-9, and he's 6-0, 6-1, and 210-215."

Willis used those tools to pile up 1,277 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior, and is hoping for even bigger things as a senior. If that happens, it will only whet the appetite of his suitors even more.

"He understands, the longer he waits, there are certain teams that could come in and say we're going to pull it because we can't wait any longer," Scheib said. "But he understands if he has a special year, everyone will wait." Top Stories