Gene's Page talked with Clarksdale High School's Darren "Dapoo" Williams, an MSU signee, about the good and bad parts of the recruiting process and what his personal and team goals will be while at Mississippi State."> Gene's Page talked with Clarksdale High School's Darren "Dapoo" Williams, an MSU signee, about the good and bad parts of the recruiting process and what his personal and team goals will be while at Mississippi State.">

The Darren "Dapoo" Williams' Show

<img src="" align="left" width="119" height="161"> Gene's Page talked with Clarksdale High School's Darren "Dapoo" Williams, an MSU signee, about the good and bad parts of the recruiting process and what his personal and team goals will be while at Mississippi State.

Darren, the burning question is how did you get the nickname Dapoo?
"I have no idea."

You have no idea? Do you know when you were first called Dapoo?
"I was young. I was a little boy, about 8 or 9 when I first heard it. I'm not sure how they came up with it."

It is obvious that you are an extremely talented youngster. When did you first realize you had a very special talent?
"It was early. When I was in the 8th grade, I was dunking over people. I knew it was special even then. I think my dad had a lot of athletic ability."

Because you were a national recruit and highly recruited, you went through a bigger recruiting process than almost all the players nationally. What I want to do in this interview is let you talk about the recruiting process from beginning to end. Let's start out with the question, when did you realize you were going to be highly recruited?
"After my 10th grade year, I thought I was going to be highly recruited. I thought that because I played on both sides of the ball and put up numbers on both sides. Then I started to get a few letters at the end of the spring my 11th grade year from several big schools. So I knew then that I was going to be highly recruited.

"At first I enjoyed being recruited. I enjoyed receiving the letters. I would receive between 15 and 20 letters a day. That got everybody's attention. I got all these scholarship offers from these schools."

How did you handle recruiting your 11th grade year?
"With everybody writing me, I had to live up to my rep. I had a name to represent. I knew I had to work hard to live up to it."

You received a lot of letters your junior year, did you also receive a lot of calls during May of your junior year?
"I received a lot of calls. They called once, then they started back (in the fall). When they started back, man, they really started calling back. They said you are going to get tired of us calling."

With so many calls from folks like me, college coaches, talking to friends at school, going to school each day and having to go to practice each day, how did you handle all of that?
"I managed. I was just going with the flow during recruiting. The thing that I really hated during recruiting was everytime you saw somebody, they would ask 'where are you going to school.' Then they would give you their opinion. I would listen, you have to listen to everybody, but you can't do what everybody said."

Was the pressure constant throughout the recruiting process?
"It was. And I was misquoted a lot on the internet. I would talk to people over the phone, then they would say read this tomorrow. I would read it and I would be misquoted. At the end it got really tight."

What do you mean by tight at the end?
"Everybody was telling me, 'I know you are coming over here.' Coaches were saying that too."

You committed to State pretty early in the recruiting process. When did you become a Mississippi State fan and why?
"I liked State because I have a lot of friends there and they like it there."

Why did you go ahead and commit so early to Mississippi State?
"I knew that was where I wanted to be and I was letting other schools know that. I also felt that in-state schools would take care of players within their state better than out of state schools would. I wanted to stay in-state and I didn't like the other schools in Mississippi."

There were so many rumors out there about you visiting this school and that school, what schools did you actually officially visit?
"I went on a lot of unofficial visits but I only officially visited State and Ole Miss. I had a lot of schools call me wanting me to visit. Tennessee's coach called me and told me you need to tell us something now or we will give away your scholarship."

What did you tell him?
"I told them, 'if you can't save me a scholarship and I'm a national recruit, then you can give it away.' I know I wasn't the only DB out there but I think they lost out, big-time."

There were other rumors about schools such as Florida, Ohio State and several other colleges being interested in you near the end of the recruiting process. Was there any truth to those rumors?
"Ohio State, Penn State and Pittsburgh saw me during the all-star game practice. They were trying to get me to come to their school for official visits. I had three weeks to go and five schools wanted me to visit. I had a visit set up with Notre Dame and the man said his plane (that was coming to pick me up) got struck by lightning and he couldn't come because of that. I stayed at home that weekend. I had another week and the coaches from Florida told me I was booked for a visit. I told them 'that was ok'. That Thursday they called me to tell me that they wanted more film on me and 'if we don't get that film by a certain time, then you would have to come next week'. I didn't like the way they handled me so I knew I didn't want to go there."

You were now near the end of the recruiting process with signing day coming up. What was signing day like?
"Signing day all those Ole Miss fans walked in. The newspaper (in Clarksdale) wrote an article in the paper about how I would love to go catch the ball from Eli. I was misquoted. I guess that had the Ole Miss people believing that I was going to Ole Miss."

Seeing so many Ole Miss people at signing day, did that put any kind of pressure on you to sign with Ole Miss at the last minute?
"No, I knew what I was going to do. Kenny Kern had a (Mississippi State) visor on. I asked him if I could wear it. When it was time to sign I pulled out my hat and signed. Kenny told me to pass him the hat. When he signed, they got out of there. A couple of them passed by me and wished me luck."

You said there were a lot of Ole Miss folks there, were there many Mississippi State fans in attendance?
"There were a lot of State people there. They cheered us when we signed."

Now that you have been through the recruiting process, and you have experienced the good and bad, are there any parts of it that you would like to see changed that you feel would help alleviate the pressure on the kids being recruited?
"The thing that needs to be changed can't be changed, really. The biggest thing that really got on my nerves was the constant questioning by people wanting to know what I was going to do. You can't change that."

Did it ever get to the point where you didn't feel like you could handle it any longer?
"No, I am strong and knew I could get through it. But I said I would be glad when it was over."

Was it late in the process or early in the process when you thought that?
"It was pretty early. After I committed, man, everybody told me, 'you don't need to do that.' I was like, 'man, how do you know what I need to do.' Coaches were saying that. Coaches were talking bad about schools. Coaches did that a lot."

Did it surprise you that coaches said bad things about another school?
"Not really, because I knew they would do anything to get me."

You received a lot of attention during the recruiting process, has not having that attention since you signed bothered you at all?
"I am kind of happy it is over with because now I can sit home and get my work done without the phone calls disturbing me. I can go back to living. For those couple of months, it was a complete change. It wasn't normal."

Are you still happy with your decision to sign with Mississippi State?
"(During the recruiting process) you are kind of undecided, you are young and are about to make the biggest decision of your life. The pressure is on. I was like, 'I wonder if I made the right decision.' You question yourself a lot. That was my biggest problem, thinking about whether I made the right decision. Man, since I signed, I think that was one of the best things that I have ever done."

Why do you think that?
"Man, with the great people (signees) that I'm coming in with and thinking about getting that family unity going, that is great. Everybody knows everybody else and everybody cares for each other. It is time to go to Starkville and handle my business. Recruiting is over with."

What are you doing now, just trying to get ready for college ball?
"Yeah, I'm working out about four days a week. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday I lift weights. I also run track. I am running the 880 and 440."

What are your personal and team goals for your future Mississippi State career? Talk about your personal goals first.
"I have high goals for myself. I want to be the best DB in the nation. I think the DB award in college is called the Jim Thorpe Award."

You mentioned you want to win the Jim Thorpe Award, what about the Heisman Trophy?
"This is my plan. If I work hard my first year and show them that I can play DB, then they will want to put me at receiver, also. Man, I can go out there at DB, then go on offense and catch the long ball. Then I can win that."

What about your team goals while at Mississippi State?
"I want us to play in the Georgia Dome next year. I want to help Mississippi State go to the SEC Championship Game next year and win it. I also want us to win the National Championship. With the players coming in and the guys that are already at Mississippi State, I really think we can do something there."

Well, you have gone through the recruiting process and are now getting ready for college ball, but it is only now starting for a few of your high school teammates. Are you advising them what to expect from the recruiting process?
"Yeah, they come and ask me (about recruiting). They are like little brothers to me. I talk to them and tell them what to expect. The same thing happened to me. Some older players that had been through it helped me. I was expecting things that happened to happen."

Do you have any final words that you would like to say to the Mississippi State fans?
"I know that they will enjoy coming to watch me play every Saturday. I plan on coming over there and be a leader."

Should they go ahead and buy their season tickets to watch the Darren "Dapoo" Williams Show on Saturday?
"Tell them they need to buy season tickets for all four years."

Well folks, you read Darren's words, so go out and buy those season tickets as soon as they become available because you are about to see the highlight film otherwise known as the Darren "Dapoo" Williams Show for the next four years.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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