Iowa Solidly in Picture for Darius Jennings

Iowa secured three verbal commitments from WRs in the 2011 Class before the end of June. However, the Hawkeyes remain in the mix for a number of standout wideouts for next year. Baltimore's Darius Jennings ranks among the best of that group. spoke with the Gilman School star recently to find out how the Hawkeyes rate and get the latest on a busy recruitment process.

Darius Jennings recently managed to trim his list of prospective schools to a workable number - 20. As heavily recruited as the 2011 receivers has been, that was progress.

"It's definitely been crazy,"'s 14th-ranked wideout in the class said. "But it's a good problem to have. I've been blessed to have so many offers from so many different programs."

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound speedster from The Gilman School in Baltimore already has visited Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Connecticut, Virginia and Rutgers. He's scheduled another visit to Virginia (July 23rd) and his first stop at Virginia Tech (July 21st), when he'll be in that state for vacation.

"We have summer football six days a week," Jennings said. "When I'm not doing that, I'm trying to fit in visits. My free time is spent on the road."

Jennings plays quarterback for Gilman, running the wildcat. He projects as a receiver on the next level.

"I'm hoping to get (his list of schools) down to 12 or so by the end of the summer," Jennings said. "By the end of the football season, I'd like to be down to six. Then, I'll try to go on official visits."

Jennings holds a clear idea for what he is looking on his visits.

"I want to go to a place that will help prepare me for life after football; help me be successful in life," he said. "The relationship with the coaches and players is important because I'll be around them for four or five years. I'd like to see the field as soon as possible. I don't want to wait until I'm a junior to contribute; showcase what I offer."

Iowa provides familiarity to Jennings. Two of his former Gilman teammates, Jim Poggi and Anthony Ferguson, are incoming Hawkeye freshmen.

"I talked with Jim (Tuesday)," Jennings said. "He's home for the July 4th break. He was saying how they take good care of him out there and how much he loves it."

Jennings joined Poggi and Ferguson on a trip to Iowa City last summer, when the trio came out with Biff Poggi, Jim's father and Gilman Head Coach.

"I'm probably not going to go back out there this summer because I saw it already," Jennings said. "I want to see some of the schools I haven't seen and I don't have a lot of free time. The only way I'd go back out is if Coach Poggi goes out and I tagged along."

The Hawkeyes and lead recruiter Darrell Wilson have formed a good relationship with Jennings through the years.

"We really have a nice bond," Jennings said. "Coach Wilson is real down to earth."

Jennings said distance from home will not factor into his final decision.

"I have schools I'm interested in from the West to the Midwest back to the East," he said. "Now, I'm not saying that playing close to home wouldn't be a plus. My family could come watch me play. But I'm looking for the best opportunity and if that's somewhere else, that's where I'll be."

Jennings also has done a fine job keeping everything in perspective.

"It's really not that hard," he said. "My parents raised me to always be grateful and be the best I can be. There's always someone out there who is better than me and wants to be in my position."

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