"I've figured out five colleges that I really want to concentrate on - Mississippi State, Florida, Notre Dame, Miami and Ole Miss," said the 6-6, 300-pounder.
He explained what he likes about each one.
Mississippi State - "It is a great university, a top-notch school. And I really feel they could teach me a lot."
Florida - "Florida is one of those big-name schools that produces NFL stars every year. And I feel that they could really help me learn a lot."
Notre Dame - "They have an excellent coaching staff. And they are one of those schools that everybody has wanted to play for at one time. It would be a good fit for me if I want to go there."
Miami - "They are always one of the top-notch schools in the country and are always ranked high. And I feel that they would be a good fit for me. I think that (offensive line) Coach (Mario) Cristobal could teach me a lot."
Ole Miss - "They are one of the big in-state schools. They have a good coaching staff and good facilities. I believe they really want me bad and that they could teach me a lot, also."
Does any one of the five lead the others?
"I would probably say that Mississippi State is leading a little bit above the others," said Derek.
He'll get a close-up view of Mississippi State this coming weekend.
"I'm going to be attending Mississippi State's football camp this weekend," said Derek, who has already attended Florida's camp earlier this summer. "I figured sometime last month it would be probably be good for me to go and actually experience being coached by (offensive line) Coach (J.B.) Grimes and being at Mississippi State for more than one day. Mostly, it's to help me get a feel for that school and find out how that school is coaching-wise and how they teach their players."
Any chance that older, but smaller brother, Dezmond, a tight end on the Mississippi State football team, will catch a peek of him while Derek's at the camp?
"(Laugh) He said he would probably stop by and watch me a little bit to see how I'm doing out there," said the likeable youngster.
Will Mississippi State eventually win out over the other four schools? Keep it on Scout.com to read the answer to that question.
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.