"I've received offers from Mississippi State, Louisville and Ole Miss," said the 6-6+, 298-pounder who received his first scholarship offer from Mississippi State. "I received Ole Miss' sometime last week. I received Louisville's sometime in January."
Although most folks, after seeing Derek play, wouldn't be surprised by the offers, Derek was.
"I was really shocked. At the time, I hadn't talked to them or gotten much info from either of the schools," said the personable youngster. "They just offered me. Both sent their offers by letter."
Derek, like so many players, are making the college Junior Day rounds this spring.
"So far, I have been to Ole Miss' and Alabama's Junior Days," said Derek. "Both were very entertaining. And I just tried to enjoy both of them."
Derek talked about the similarities in the two Junior Days.
"It was very interesting having that collection of all those prospects there, just hanging out there and the coaches telling us what their plans were," he said. "It was just a great experience."
But they also had their differences.
"They were very different. Ole Miss was more hands-on and showed each position what they have planned for us," he explained. "They even showed us some techniques that they do on the field. Alabama just told us what they are expecting of us and what it will take to get a scholarship from them. They also took us on a tour of a practice of theirs. That was cool."
He has one, possibly two, Junior Days left to attend.
"I have Mississippi State left. I'm not sure, but we might go to Florida State," noted Derek, whose older brother, Dezmond is a member of the MSU football team. "But I'm not sure about that."
He also has plans to attend a couple of summer camps.
"I am probably going to Alabama's Senior Day Camp and my high school team's linemen are going to Ole Miss' O-line and D-line camp," said Derek. "I may go to Mississippi State's, but I haven't received anything about when theirs will be."
As for the schools he's most interested in, he's still very much open.
"Right now, I'm just trying to keep my options open and not trying to have any favorites," he said.
However, when I asked him if there were 6 or 7 that he likes, he said, "Mississippi State, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame." He did note that they are all medium, with none in the lead over the others.
Derek, who was just a handful of sophomores who attended last year's Scout.com All-American Combine in Starkville, will be in attendance at the Scout.com All-American Combine in Oxford on April 30th.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.