A plethora of college programs are beating down the door of Woodland Hills (PA) cornerback Darrin Walls, but the majority of them currently take a back seat to three schools that stick out for him at this point. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Florida stand above the rest as the top three on the talented prospect's list and this past weekend he visited the two co-leaders. He hit the road for one-day stops in Ann Arbor and South Bend and came away impressed with both trips.
"Both visits went real well," Walls said of his trips to Notre Dame and Michigan. "I did basically the same thing at both. I talked to the head coaches, my position coaches, toured the campuses, and talked to academic advisors. At Michigan I talked to a few players, which was different than at Notre Dame."
The two players he spoke with were fellow Woodland Hills Wolverines Steve Breaston and Ryan Mundy. Both made it clear that they wanted him to keep the pipeline from their high school to Ann Arbor alive. "Ryan basically told me that neither school would be a bad choice, but that Michigan would be a really nice place to come," Walls said. "He said he didn't know too much about the Notre Dame program, but he told me about Michigan. That's what Stevie did too before he had to go."
Walls indicated that the major benefit of each visit was getting a better feel for the people and the inner-workings of each program. Many of the other things covered were things he had already been over before. "I did learn that Coach English coached at a lot of places before he went to Michigan and that Coach Carr use to be a DB coach," Walls said. "At Notre Dame they just summed up everything. There wasn't anything more that I didn't know. I went into the business school at Notre Dame and got to talk to one of the professors, but I didn't get to go to Michigan's because we were running short on time. But I do know that Michigan is the #2 business school in America and they could do big things for me."
With campus visits to his two favorites out of the way, is Walls any closer to making his choice? In recent weeks he indicated that he might choose a school before the start of his senior season. However, he informed GBW that that is not probable. "If I know where I want to go then I'm going to make my decision, but if I don't then I'll just have to wait," Walls said. "I'm probably not going to make my decision until after I take my officials. If I did make it, it would be something that I didn't expect myself. It's not going to happen until after I take my officials."
What remains clear after his weekend trips is Michigan and Notre Dame are still deadlocked. That's a far cry from the state of things a few months back when the Wolverines were Walls' prohibitive favorite. "Michigan and Notre Dame are about the same as they were a month ago," he said. "There is no lead for either school. In the beginning of the process, Michigan was a school that I loved because I knew two players that went there and I really didn't have a school to challenge them. Then when I took my visit to Notre Dame, I seen that the depth chart wasn't too good with corners. So when I saw the academics there and the ability to play early, that just moved Notre Dame up with Michigan."
Though Notre Dame's depth chart has a significant void in talent, Walls was quick to point out that he would have the opportunity for immediate playing time at both places. "Michigan has Leon Hall coming back and a few upper-classmen will be coming back too," Walls explained. "They have talked about the possibility of being a nickle back. At Notre Dame there aren't that many d-backs, so there is a possibility to start there. Either way I'm going to have to compete for a starting job, so both places are saying the same thing."
The playing time issue will certainly be one of the most important factors when Walls' sits down to make his final decision. However, when asked what he thought would be the most significant factor, he answered very decisively. "Basically it's going to be the position coach," he said. "I've been hearing so much good stuff about the head coach and all of the other coaches, but it doesn't matter because I'm going to play for the position coach. It's going to depend on the position coach and depth charts."
After sitting down at length with Coach English and Coach Lewis (Notre Dame's DB coach), Walls has gotten a good feel for both men. "Coach English is a real funny guy," Walls said. "I like him a lot. He is optimistic, energetic, and has a great personality. Coach Lewis is kind of the opposite because he is a little older. He was with the Miami Dolphins for nine years. That's something I like about him because he has been in the NFL. He is optimistic too."
GoBlueWolverine will have more from Walls throughout the summer.