According to Solon, Ohio, head coach James McQuaide, the three-star defensive end is set to pick a school July 19th, one day before the Comets begin practicing for the 2009 season.
"He is on track," McQuaide told BuckeyeSports.com. "We just talked last night and he's going to make his decision by Sunday, July 19th."
In mid-June, the 6-6, 245-pound Baldwin had narrowed his list to five schools: Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State and Notre Dame. The inclusion of the Nittany Lions was a recent development, McQuaide said.
Now, with a decision date looming, McQuaide said a few schools are separating themselves from the pack.
"I think Ohio State is definitely in the lead," he said. "Penn State is probably second, I would say. He went to Penn State in June with his mom and he liked it a lot. I would say Michigan is not in the mix right now. Michigan State and Notre Dame, it's those five schools but I couldn't give you a published list. It's still those five schools but I'd say Ohio State and Penn State are at the top right now."
On June 25th, Baldwin, his mother and McQuaide took a visit to Columbus to spend some time with a few current Buckeyes. While there, Baldwin spent time with defensive linemen Thaddeus Gibson and Solomon Thomas and running back Dan Herron.
"He just wanted to spend some time with the current players and he did that," McQuaide said. "All three of them were great guys. They were very good representatives of Ohio State, that's for sure."
The question now is how Baldwin plans on getting the word out – and for that, McQuaide said he is not entirely sure.
"I think his main thing would be to call (OSU head) coach (Jim) Tressel, (Penn State head) coach (Joe) Paterno, (Michigan State head) coach (Mark) Dantonio and just tell them he's coming and now he wants to get ready to play for Solon," McQuaide said. "We're still talking about it. If it was just up to Darryl, he wouldn't be doing any of this. He's just a real quiet, shy guy."
Once a decision has been announced, Baldwin will be able to focus solely on his senior season. Ranked as the No. 46 defensive end in the country and the No. 14 prospect in Ohio, Baldwin has emerged as a top-level recruit. However, McQuaide pointed to several things his star player is already working on in an effort to improve from his performance as a junior.
The most important improvement has been his work ethic during the offseason, McQuaide said.
"He attacked it in the winter and the spring as far as the weight program goes," the coach said. "It was really the first year that he ever totally committed himself to getting stronger and he really has.
"The other thing is being more involved more of the time. If you're a great player, you should be on the field all of the time. I think that's a goal of his, too. We gave him breaks last year and took him out certain times on offense or on defense. He's approaching this saying, ‘I want to be playing all the time.' "
Once Baldwin makes his decision, McQuaide said he will be pleased with wherever Baldwin goes because of the effort he has put into researching the schools recruiting him.
"I think he's done a very good job of investigating everything and looking at housing, academics, teammates, coaching, everything. He's very comfortable and I'm very comfortable in all he's put into it, he and his mom."