Practice Tour: Daquan Romero

HAMPTON, Va. --- North Carolina verbal commitment Daquan Romero is glad to have his collegiate decision behind him.

"It's a lot better, because I know right now I'd probably be thinking about ‘Ah, what school do I want to go to,'" Romero said. "Now, it's like ‘I know what school I'm going to go to.' [Recruiting] is on the backburner right now and I have more time to focus on this season."

Putting recruiting on the backburner means Romero, a 6-foot, 209-pounder, hasn't spoken to the UNC coaches "in a while."

"I've been trying to focus on my senior season," Romero said. "We've been trying to get together as a team and just focus on the state championship. We've been trying to get together as brothers and try to get chemistry down."

Romero does, however, hope to attend several UNC home games this fall – as long as it doesn't interfere with his senior football season.

"I'll talk to Coach [Stan Sexton] about it," Romero said. "We'll work together, see which games I can go to, [and] see which games I can't maybe because I have practice that day."

Furthermore, in his limited spare time, Romero continues to help UNC recruit two fellow Tidewater Area players, Travis Hughes and Demetrious Nicholson.

"I haven't really been trying to get in their heads to make the decision, because I know how hard that can be and how annoying that can be with people every five minutes talking about ‘come here, come here,'" Romero said. "Ultimately, it's going to be up to them."

Phoebus is the back-to-back VHSL 5A State Champions and is amid a 30-game winning streak. The Phantoms return eight defensive starters and seven offensive starters from its 2009 squad, including Romero, who will be a three-year starter.

"All those guys coming back make a big difference," Sexton said. "They all have experience; they all have a full season under their belt; and they're veteran players. That's important to have."

Defensively, Romero is the weak-side end, where he accumulated 30 sacks last season.

"[Romero] is a big piece [of our defense]," Sexton said. "We do a lot of things with him – we'll stand him up, we'll put him down, we'll bring him off the edge. We like him rushing the passer.

"Everybody is going to a spread, shotgun style offense and [Romero] is really good [against] that. He's a disciplined player, he's smart, he watches a lot of tape, and he knows the situations. He's a big force for us."

However, Romero isn't the only piece of Phoebus' defensive puzzle. The Phantoms also boast Division I-A prospect Tyree Lee at defensive back and Virginia pledge Caleb Taylor at middle linebacker.

"We have ten other guys that make [Romero] what he is," Sexton said. "They'll sacrifice something for him to get to that point. With what we do on defense, ‘Da-Da' is one that really benefits from it."

UNC – and every other school that offered him a scholarship – recruited Romero as a linebacker.

"I think the only problem he's going to have is the pass drop stuff, [after] being [in a system] with his hand down," Sexton said. "We do throw in a little 3-4 action where we stand him up. The big thing is: once he learns how to pass drop and get that ingrained in him [through] repetition, I think he's going to be dominant linebacker."

Romero worked out at linebacker during UNC's camp this summer.

"I'm kind of nervous [about the position change]," Romero said. "But I've talked to a lot of people about it and they told me I can do it, I just have to work. I think I'll be fine, [it's] just going to take a little time."

Romero also starts at tight end for Phoebus, where he earned All-State recognition as a sophomore.

"He's probably one of the best tight ends in the state of Virginia," Sexton said. "Last year, it was to the point where [opponents] made sure they had at least two guys on him wherever he lined up. So we've got to get creative with him. And the emergence of some of the young receivers out here is going to free him up."

Despite the extra attention, Romero still had 25 receptions last season and was a key blocker for Phoebus.

"He's a great blocker," Sexton said. "He's an all-around football player. He can do it on both sides of the ball. He's a kid, who will play any position we want him to play – if we tell him to line up at quarterback, he'll do that and give us everything we need on the play. He wants to do what's best for the team." Daquan Romero Profile

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