Savage Hyped About Terps, And Scouting Report

BEAR, Del. -- Caravel Academy (Bear, Del.) took on Episcopal School (Alexandria, Va.) Sept. 12, and Caravel ended up on top, 27-24. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout Maryland pledge Darnell Savage, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback.

BEAR, Del. -- Caravel Academy (Bear, Del.) took on Episcopal School (Alexandria, Va.) Sept. 12, and Caravel ended up on top, 27-24. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout Maryland pledge Darnell Savage, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback who doubles as a receiver/running back. For the night Savage had two tackles, one pass breakup and was lockdown in coverage, while he piled up over 150 offensive yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for two scores, including a 61-yard scamper, and then threw a 35-yard touchdowns pass on an option play.

Check out his scouting report and interview below:

Scouting Report

Darnell Savage has serious wheels. We’re talking 4.3 40-yard dash wheels, which is really saying something considering this guy is coming off a broken femur suffered early last fall. It’s evident Savage has not lost a step, and may be even stronger and faster then he was prior to the injury. How? His lower-body strength has improved, and coupled with his rigorous rehab, it’s aided his natural speed. In other words, Savage is a bona fide track star – and it translates to the gridiron.

Here’s what I mean: When evaluating a cornerback, one of the main things I look for is recovery speed and how well a defensive back tracks the deep ball. Savage has proven he can not only track a receiver stride-for-stride downfield, but if he’s beaten by a step or two, he can make up the difference. (Not to mention when he has the ball in his hands as a running back he can make defenses look silly, showing elite top-end speed and acceleration).

Technically speaking, Savage is on-point for a high school senior. His steps are nimble and precise, his hips are loose, and he has little wasted movement. Savage gets in and out of his breaks quickly and fluidly flips and readjusts, depending on the wideout’s route. He transitions smoothly and rarely looks hesitant in coverage.

In press coverage, Savage is sticky. He rides his man’s hip, keeps inside position and does not allow much daylight. And when a wideout does seem to gain a step, Savage, as aforementioned, has that extra giddy-up in the tank to make up ground -- that characteristic closing speed all top-notch corners possess. Better yet, he’s feisty, actively challenging his man off the line, daring him to run by him. It’s evident Savage loves to play bump-and-run, as he throws some fairly stunning initial jabs, knocking wideouts off their routes.

Moreover, Savage seems to have a high football IQ. He has a knack when to undercut a pattern or sit back in a zone, riding his man deep. Savage is rather itchy, too, always ready to jump those comebacks and out-routes. He is constantly looking for that opportunity to step in front of his man, pick off a pass and take it the other way. Leave a pass hanging too long on a 10-yard comeback, and Savage, who has a cat-quick first step, is want to bee-line in front, snag the wayward throw and sprint in the opposite direction.

Savage is also a solid tackler who can take down a tight end by himself. He gets low and drives through the offensive player, displaying proper form.

To take his game up a notch, Savage has to continue working on his route recognition and eye discipline. Once in awhile he’ll get caught peeking into the backfield, allowing the receiver to sneak by him. And because most wideouts at the high school level aren’t running complicated patterns, he’ll have to learn how to quickly identify routes and make adjustments on the fly.

Moreover, we’d like to see Savage become even more fluid and smooth then he already is. Once in awhile he looks mechanical, as if he’s trying to follow coaching to a T. Savage needs to develop those second-nature instinct and fundamentals where he doesn’t even need to think about flipping and transitioning.

We want to see how well Savage does when challenging wideouts in the air as well. He wasn’t tested for jump balls Sept. 12, so we weren’t able to truly get a gauge of his vertical and in-air ball skills. Can he rise up, out-physical his man and come away with the pass breakup/pick? That’s something Savage will have to prove once he gets to College Park, because he’s not going to face that kind of elite competition at Caravel.

Finally, Savage, though physical at the line, has to become an even more willing tackler. He seemed to shy away from sticking his nose in the pile a couple times, allowing the linebackers to clean up.


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