Washington (D.C.) Woodrow Wilson 2015 linebacker Kareem McDonald isn't looking for any shortcuts. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder battled back from a early season kidney ailment that sidelined him for three weeks and caused him to lose 20 pounds in September to finish as one of the most disruptive defensive players in the District of Columbia Athletic Association.
"We lost to H.D. Woodson in the championship, but it was the first time Wilson had been to the championship in 22 years so that was big for me," said McDonald, who finished with 50 tackles, 13 sacks, and two forced fumble last season. "When I came to the program me and a couple of other guys we really changed the program a lot so this year was really special."
McDonald's hard-nosed mentality and hustle has caught the attention of a number of college coaches during the spring evaluation period. The defensive standout already picked up an offer from Toledo in February and he said coaches from Nebraska, Old Dominion, Kentucky, Duke, Penn State, Maryland, Alabama, and ECU are all set to visit Wilson during the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, there is one school that has caught McDonald's attention: Penn State. The Nittany Lions ascended to the top of McDonald's list thanks in large part to his friend and recent Penn State commit, Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard 2015 defensive tackle Adam McLean.
"I think it was great that Adam [McLean] committed and now he is trying to recruit me pretty hard to go there," McDonald said. "We are supposed to go visit together. He [McLean] just tell me that the coaches are great and I could play in front of 107 thousand people, and because I can play early."
McDonald has not had much communication with the Nittany Lions staff, but he is expecting a visit from defensive line coach Sean Spencer some time this week, and he plans to visit campus for the first time with McLean the first weekend in May.
"I want to choose the best school for me, but right now leading is Penn State," McDonald said. "I think that being a linebacker and going there they could make me a great player and hopefully help me pursue my dream in the NFL."
While Penn State remains No. 1 on McDonald's list, his hometown team, Maryland, is a close second.
"Coach [Mike] Locksley said they really like me and I could pick up an offer from them this summer," McDonald said. "They are just truing to figure out what position they want to recruit me as either a linebacker or a safety, since I am a hybrid linebacker and I can play both positions.
"They are in a 3-4 so I would probably be either an outside linebacker or a safety," McDonald said. "[Locksley] just tells me he likes how much I hustle and how I play the game. I don't stop until the whistle blows and I make a lot of big plays for my team so that really stands out."
McDonald is grinding hard and he hopes to improve his game and land a few more big offers this off season as he hopes to make his decision in just a few months.
‘I am trying to build my speed and endurance so I am able to play the whole game through next year," McDonald said. "I could see myself committing around June, I want to look at a few schools and then hopefully make the right decision."
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