A Beast On The Gridiron

Darryl Baldwin is definitely a quiet person. The same can't be said for his biggest fan.

"My mom, she's pretty loud," Darryl Baldwin laughed. "I can always hear her during games."

She certainly has a lot to cheer about.

In what ended as a 6-4 season for Solon (Ohio) High, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Baldwin had 37 tackles, including 19 of those coming for loss. The Scout.com top-100 player and four-star defensive end, also saw some time at tight end, catching eight passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns.

A beast on the gridiron, Baldwin has already racked up 12 scholarship offers from places like Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue and West Virginia. He credits much of his success to his mother.

"She's just motivated me my whole life, and has really helped me through this whole process," Baldwin explained. "Together, we've come up with questions we want to ask, like if I'm going to be able to play at the school, and she's just really helpful."

Notre Dame is coming on strong for Baldwin, and he reports a verbal offer from the Irish. Baldwin has taken visits to Ohio State, Cincinnati, Michigan and Michigan State in the past, and one of the places he'd like to see for the first time this spring is Notre Dame.

"Just because they have a great past, and they're always an excellent team," Baldwin said. "I might want to be included in their program.

"I believe they're moving in the right direction. I like coach (Charlie) Weis a lot."

Irish assistants Brian Polian and Jon Tenuta have both been recruiting Baldwin.

"They both have been here a couple times to our school during the winter recruiting period, and they were at basketball practice and a basketball game," Solon head coach Jim McQuaide said. "I've known them for a long time.

McQuaide himself has been in the coaching profession for a long time, and has mentored players that ended up being captains at places like Ohio State and Nebraska, as well as a few guys that went on to play in the NFL. He thinks Baldwin is on track for the same kind of success.

"He has potential to be a very good player, McQuaide said. "There is no doubt.

"I think first of all, last year at this time everyone said he was a defensive end. He's almost 6-7, 250 pounds. He runs well. When I stand behind the offense in practice and we're trying to throw the ball and he puts his arms up, you can't see anything. This past year we also used him as a tight end, and that now has people deciding they're not sure if he's an offensive guy or defensive guy. He has outstanding ball skills for someone his size. He'll be a three-year starter on our basketball team. He has great hands. He can run the floor for our basketball team, and that translates to football real well. A lot of people that said he was a defensive end last year, are recruiting him for both this year."

Baldwin has a 3.4 GPA and is thinking about majoring in engineering. He isn't completely sure on when he'll make a college decision. However, Baldwin definitely knows what he's looking for in a school.

"First of all, not too far away from home just so my mom can always watch me play," Baldwin began. "A school that is really into their football program, one that everyone is involved in in some way. A pretty big campus, I like big campuses, and just one with a bunch of people that are good to be around. A place where there is a lot of good friends you can have."

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