Pack, Gators Battle For Baldwin

Not too long ago Darin Baldwin wasn't talking about who his leaders might be and seemed to be keeping things wide open.

Not too long ago Darin Baldwin wasn't talking about who his leaders might be and seemed to be keeping things wide open.

Things have changed of late, however, with NC State and Florida emerging as Baldwin's top two schools.

A 6-0, 170-pound defensive back from South Dade Senior High School in Homestead, FL, Baldwin has the speed and strength the Pack coaches look for in secondary prospects. The connections built in Florida by Chuck Amato and staff might end up swaying Baldwin in their direction.

"I've got a really good friendship with Marcus Hudson," said Baldwin. "He played here and when he gets out of school he comes back and helps out with the team. He's helped me improve my game a lot whenever we've spent time together. His brother and his father are coaches here at my school, so I hear all about NC State. I'm real familiar with their program and what goes on there. Everybody knows they have a lot of guys from down here in Florida on their team, so it almost feels like the school isn't far from home."

While that sounds great for NC State, the Pack will have to fend off the Gators if they hope to land Baldwin.

"Florida is really the only other school I'm looking at right now. I'm pretty much down to them and NC State. I like a lot of the same things I see in Florida that I see in NC State. I like the coaches and I have a lot of connections there. I used to live right up there and I still have family right around the Florida campus. I don't think that will be too much of a factor, because like I said, I have connections at NC State too."

South Dade remains undefeated on the season and they are about to enter the first round of the state playoffs. On the season Baldwin has picked off six passes while returning two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns.

"I think people are going to be surprised at how polished I am when I get to the college level," he said. "I've worked with Marcus (Hudson) a lot, and both my coaches played college football too. I feel like they've really prepared me to the point that I'll be able to come in and really know what's going on. A lot of guys get to college and they don't have any idea what to expect, but I've had people along the way preparing me for that."

Baldwin isn't the only player from South Dade the Pack is currently recruiting.

"They've talked about my friend Jevon Walker (6-0, 180-pound defensive back) and I coming as a packaged deal," said Baldwin. "That's something I would be very interested in, but I've been too busy keeping up with my own recruiting situation to let that weigh on my mind too much. It would definitely be fun though."

Though the Pack is in a good position with Baldwin, it might be a while before he announces a decision.

"I want to take official visits to both NC State and Florida, but I'm going to have to wait until after the season. We're having a great year obviously, so I'm not sure when that will be. But once I visit both schools I should be ready to make a decision. It shouldn't be any later than January."

#3 Darin Baldwin - Video 1

#3 Darin Baldwin - Video 2

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