St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) junior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard is going to have multiple options once the spring evaluation period hits, but for now he has a select few offers from Big 12 and Big Ten country. His latest look came from Maryland Jan. 5, a look the 6-foot-6, 315 pounder was particularly excited about.
“The Maryland look was pretty big. It was my first Big Ten offer. When Coach [Andy] Buh talked to me, we were going back and forth, and he said they were really impressed with my film and thought I was the No. 1 O-lineman out of Ohio,” said Kinnard, who also has offers from Iowa State and Ohio. “So that was really cool and pretty huge. It shows the hard work is paying off. It made me feel sky high that he said I was No. 1 and tops on their board. It’s one of the bigger things I’ve ever heard.”
Kinnard already has initial interest in Maryland and said he’s begun researching the school. He knew some based off what he’d seen on TV, but is in the process of learning more about the program.
“I’ve seen them play and they seem pretty solid. I don’t know much, but I’m very interested. I’m doing my research. It seems like a real good school,” Kinnard said. “And one thing from watching them play -- my school is a unit, and that’s what stands out about Maryland. They seem like a real unit. It’s solid.”
Kinnard mentioned the school’s academic reputation sits well too.
“Education-wise, they’re top 15. There’s a lot of doors you can open there other than sports. You can really branch out there,” Kinnard said. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed about Maryland so far.”
The Ohio native is also speaking to coaches from Iowa State, Pitt, Wisconsin and Miami of Ohio.
The only school he’s seen so far is Ohio State, which he visited for a camp last summer. Kinnard would like to see Maryland, Iowa State, Toledo and several other nearby schools this offseason. He’ll also be monitoring which schools ante up and set up visits to those locales.
“Honesty I don’t think I should hope for anything. I should let my play dictate who offers. It’s not just me reaching out and hoping to be offered. It’s based on skill,” Kinnard said. “So I’m not really hoping for anything. But I grew up watching football and I watched a lot of different schools. Ohio State would be a great school to go to, but my doors are open. I’m open to any school that offers me.”
Kinnard mentioned that education will be a primary factor for him throughout the process. A school’s location, however, won’t be.
“I want to go into sports therapy, so I’d like to have that major at whichever college I choose. Also, I want to have a school with outside connections if football doesn’t work out. And a family feel around the program, that’s big too,” Kinnard said. “As far as location, my mom said she’d move to where I’m going to college. So staying home isn’t a big deal, but I wouldn’t mind staying around Ohio.”
Kinnard progressed steadily from his sophomore to his junior year. After working out and improving his fundamentals, the big tackle has developed into one of the best in the Midwest.
“I feel like I can do a lot of things well, but there’s so much to get better at,” Kinnard said. “I’m working on my pass protection. It’s a strong suit, but it could be better. I have good technique, but you can always have better technique. You can always improve and work on something. Also, there are defensive linemen with different games and techniques, and you have to be able to adjust to that. Confidence is a big thing to develop as a lineman too, and building lower body strength so I can get lower -- that’s a big thing.”