UNC Pursuing N.J. D-Lineman

North Carolina is among the nearly two dozen schools to verbally offer a scholarship to Darius Hamilton, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive lineman.

"I think I found out a few weeks ago – I want to say four, five weeks ago," Hamilton said. "I actually found out from my coach. He walked up to me and let me and a couple of other guys know that North Carolina had offered. It was exciting."

UNC has also extended offers to four of Hamilton's Ramsay (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep teammates – Leonte Carroo, Elijah Shumate, Mike Strizak and Yuri Wright.

"It's funny, because you watch TV and everybody in basketball wants to play for the super team," Hamilton said. "I was just watching on ESPN the ‘Fab 5' [documentary].

"We would all love to play with each other. If the opportunity came around and there was a school that had what we all wanted in football and academics, I feel like we'd all jump on the chance to play with each other. But if it doesn't, it doesn't. We'll still be friends, regardless."

Furthermore, two additional teammates, Paul Canevari and Gary Nova, signed with Rutgers last February.

"They definitely want all the kids from Don Bosco to go to Rutgers," Hamilton said. "But at the end of the day, they understand it's our decision."

Hamilton estimates that around 20 schools in total have verbally offered him, including Connecticut, Florida, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Southern Cal.

Although he has yet to speak to anyone from UNC directly, Hamilton has developed a favorable opinion of UNC.

"Obviously, it has a great team and academically it's great, too," Hamilton said.

Hamilton has, though, had several conversations with coaches from Florida and Rutgers.

"I'd say that the two schools that are recruiting me the hardest – as far as getting to know the coaching staff – would have to be Rutgers and Florida," Hamilton said. "From Florida I talk to Bryant Young, the defensive line coach; and Coach [Will] Muschamp, I've talked to him a couple times now. From Rutgers, I've talked to Coach [Greg] Schiano and I always talk to Coach [Jeff] Hafley."

Regardless, Hamilton doesn't have a list of favorite schools.

"My whole thing with colleges is I want to be somewhere where people want me to be there just as much as I want to be there," Hamilton said. "And I want to go somewhere where I can contribute early. I feel like if you give me an opportunity, I can make the most out of my chance. I would love to go somewhere where I would have a chance to be able to play as a freshman."

Hamilton hasn't researched schools' depth charts, but he said he plans on doing so soon.

The lack of favorite schools is primarily attributed to Hamilton's lack of visits. He hasn't visited any school, yet.

"I'm definitely going to get out and take as many unofficial visits as I can," Hamilton said. "I don't have anything planned, yet. I'm going to take all five of my official visits – mostly to schools that are more difficult to get it."

Hamilton has been playing varsity for Don Bosco, a perennial national football power, since his freshman season. Last season, though, was his first as a starter. He collected 65 tackles and 14.5 sacks from his defensive tackle position, while Don Bosco won its fifth consecutive New Jersey Non-Public, Group 4 state title and was ranked nationally.

Hamilton is being recruited as both defensive tackle and defensive end.

"I feel like I can play both positions," Hamilton said. "If I had a choice, I would say defensive tackle. But if a school wants me to play defensive end, I have no problem playing it."

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