Wise High in Upper Marlboro, Md., always produces a couple FBS talents every year, and in the 2016 class there are at least three to monitor. Defensive back Myles Wolfolk is already a known recruit, and TT broke out the name Damon Hayes a month or so ago, but the Pumas also have an outside linebacker about to emerge.
John Daka, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder with a long, sinewy frame and solid speed has generated plenty of early interest and should see the offers start to roll in by the end of camp season.
“Offer wise, Old Dominion told me they were going to offer once I got to campus July 24, and besides them I’m getting looks from Penn State, Maryland, Florida State, Clemson, Arizona, Pitt, Rutgers, Tennessee, Wisconsin, NC State, Ohio State, Temple, UNC and Purdue,” Daka said. “Some of those schools have had direct contact with me on the Internet, and other ones have been talking to my coaches about me. I’m trying to visit as many of those school as possible to see how interested they really are.”
Daka conceivably could have picked up some initial verbals in June, but he said his busy schedule precluded him from attending one-day camps. He said he had a scheduled family vacation, team 7-on-7 tournaments and other issues that kept him busy most weekends.
“So basically I’m just starting camp season, and I’m trying to cram as many in in July because I missed June,” Daka said. “I know I’m camping at ODU on July 24, and I’ll also be getting to UVA the day before and Penn State July 19. I’m trying to do one more July 28 too.”
While Daka wasn’t able to attend team one-days, he did participate in the Sound Mind/Sound Body event at Wilson High School in D.C. last month. The NCAA actually allowed the Maryland staff to monitor and work the event, so the Wise linebacker had a chance to show out for UMD.
“I met like three Maryland coaches at Sound Mind/Sound Body, and they really liked me,” Daka said. “They took down my name, asked about my grades and said they were putting me on their board. I haven’t heard from them since, but I know they’ve been talking to my coaches about me.”
While at the camp, Daka said he connected with defensive line coach Chad Wilt. Daka is being recruited as an outside linebacker, but he plays defensive end at Wise, and worked out at that position during the event.
“Coach Wilt was great,” Daka said. “He was saying how I had a lot of potential and complimented me, and when I was working with him he taught me a lot of different things. Like, when he was showing us something new, he made it really easy to learn and understand, and I really liked that about him. He’s a great teacher and someone I could learn a lot from.”
Daka mentioned that he has not met area recruiter Mike Locksley yet, but he knows he’s been through Wise. The Pumas’ backer said he’d like to eventually develop a relationship with Locksley and also visit College Park, Md., for a formal trip.
“I know Coach Locks is talking to my coaches, so hopefully I’ll have contact with him at some point as well,” said Daka, who attended UMD’s spring game a few months back. “Maryland is definitely a school I’m looking at, and it’s a real nice place. It’s the hometown school and that would be nice to play for your hometown. At the same time, I need an offer first, so my interest in them depends on their interest in me. If [Maryland] offers, depending on what other offers I get, it’s definitely a school that would be up there with my tops.”
The Wise linebacker said he does not have a dream school or any early favorites, though he’d love to procure offers from any of the elite programs around the country.
In the meantime, he’s continuing to hone his craft, both in the weight room and on the field.
“I get a lot of compliments for my footwork and speed, but I want to get even faster – like get my 40 time down in the high-4.4 to low-4.5 range,” Daka said. “I’ve already gotten my weight up, which was one of my main goals, so that was a big thing for me.
“And this season, I have a personal goal of 20 sacks, so I’m going to need all that speed and strength [to accomplish that]. I also want to lead my team to an undefeated season and another state championship.”
Wise OLB Daka About To Emerge
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