Pennsylvania has been very generous to the Michigan Wolverines over the years, delivering some of the country's most coveted prospects. The talent rich state will again be one of the primary pit stops on the Maize and Blue recruiting trails. One of the players that has emerged as an early Keystone State target is Woodland Hills High star Darrin Walls.
If the name of that high school rings a bell for Michigan fans, it should. It is the alma mater of current Wolverines Steve Breaston and Ryan Mundy. Breaston was gone by the time Walls got to high school, but he played his freshman season with Mundy. Since his two ballyhooed predecessors made their way to the college ranks, Walls has gone about making a name for himself. He followed up a 56-tackle/three-interception sophomore season with a 62-tackle/six interception junior campaign, and is now considered by many to be the top player in Western Pennsylvania. While his individual success has been pleasing, his team did not perform quite as well as he would have liked.
"We did okay," Walls said regarding Woodland Hills' performance last year. "We had a lot of injuries, so we didn't do as well as we wanted to. We made it to the second round of the playoffs and lost to Gateway (Justin King's team)."
Walls plays on both sides of the ball for Woodland Hills, but his position of choice -- the one he would like to play in college -- is cornerback. When asked if he modeled his game after a current college or pro player Walls pointed to a former Michigan Wolverine. "Charles Woodson," Walls said. " My height is 6-1, I weigh 175 and I run a 4.4. I'm a bump and run corner. I like to play aggressive."
Also an accomplished track athlete with self reported bests of 11.1 seconds in the 100m and 23.2 seconds in the 200m, Walls has been hearing from top college programs for well over a year. He already holds offers from Pittsburgh and Louisville, but there is another school that sticks out above the rest at this early point in his process. When asked if the talk of him favoring Michigan was true Walls answered with little hesitation. "Yes," he said simply. "I like the coaching staff and the players a lot and they send a lot of corners to the NFL."
Walls visited Ann Arbor for the homecoming game against Minnesota last season and may be back on campus this weekend for Michigan's annual Junior Day. His attendance at this point is uncertain. However, if he were to make it in and the Wolverines subsequently extended a scholarship offer, Walls indicated that it would definitely give him something to think about. "I'm not sure about that," Walls said regarding whether he would commit. " But I'd consider it."
Three other schools look to be the primary challengers to the Wolverines early standing. Virginia, Ohio State, and Notre Dame made up the rest of Walls' top four. Like Michigan, the Ohio State Buckeyes have one of his former teammates on their team in Devon Lyons. Walls indicated that having him in Columbus makes the Scarlet and Gray an attractive option. That said, the primary criteria for his choice has nothing to do with football.
"Academics," Walls said regarding the most significant factor in his decision. Planning to major in accounting, Walls will be taking a close look at the off the field component of the institutions he is considering. If he does not make an early commitment, he'll likely delay his decision until after his senior season.
GBW will be checking in to see whether Walls made it to junior day next week.