Directed Decision

Northwestern High School's Daquan Hargrett has had strong focus for his entire football career, and so far things are going just as he planned. He took another big step today with his commitment to West Virginia University.

Hargrett, who grew up watching Northwestern's football teams, knew early on that he wanted to play for the Miami powerhouse.

"When you grow up in my area, everyone dreams of playing for Northwestern," Hargrett told "It was just a dream for me, and it's what everyone wants to do here. It's one of the top programs in the country."

Hargrett helped Northwestern continue its dominance a year ago, leading the team to the state Class 6A title and a ranking as the number one high school football team in the country. A self-described "monster" on the field, Hargrett rushed for 882 yards on 117 carries while catching eight passes for another 161 yards. While those numbers don't jump off the page, they are indicative of several points that Hargrett is quick to make.

"We spread the ball around a lot on offense. I share the backfield with two other running backs, and we aren't greedy or stingy about getting the ball. I'll start the game, and we try to play two at a time, but sometimes it's just one [in the backfield]. We'll rotate and keep fresh, and we can wear other teams down. We all get enough carries to stay satisfied."

Also contributing to Hargrett's lower numbers was the fact that he missed three games with hamstring injuries. Those missed contests, which came earlier in the season, probably cost the rising senior another 300-400 yards on his ground totals. However, he wasn't concerned about the lost opportunities to gain stats, and instead concentrated on getting back into the action for Northwestern's state championship run.

"I'm fully recovered now," he reported. "I got a lot better as the season went on, and I'm good now. Last spring I just ran the relays in track in order to avoid getting hurt again."

Hargrett won't get the chance to see what he could do in individual dashes this year, because he plans to graduate from Northwestern in December and enroll at West Virginia in January. That's another example of the planning with which he has conducted his scholastic career.

"Once I found out you can graduate and enroll early, I got into the right classes so I can graduate and get the best GPA I can," Hargrett said. "I'm waiting to take the ACT this summer, and I should be in good shape to get everything done and come to West Virginia in January."

As for his future home, Hargrett hasn't seen it yet. He will, however, be traveling to West Virginia at the end of June for the one-day rising senior camp, and doesn't anticipate any surprises.

"I feel like West Virginia is the spot for me," he explained. "The coaches were great with me. We just built great relationships right from the start. I talked with Coach Holliday once a week, and he is just a phenomenal guy. He's very genuine, and easy to talk to. Everything we talked about, it just made me feel at home."

Hargrett was unable to attend West Virginia's spring game due to a track meet, but missing out on seeing the campus didn't weigh large in his commitment. Part of that was due to the early WVU scholarship offer, which came three months ago, but some is also due to the power of the much-maligned Internet.

"I plan on majoring in business or sports medicine, and I did a lot of research on the Internet about what [West Virginia] had to offer," he said. "It's one of the best things that helped me in the recruiting process. It's a great resource. Education was also one of the big things in my decision, and WVU is right up near the top in that too."

It's easy to see that Hargrett is a motivated player and person. He took the lead in researching the schools he was considering, and once he had all the information he needed he made his decision. A confident player who describes himself as a great competitor, he strives to blend his skills with those of his teammates in order to keep Northwestern at the top.

"I do bring a lot to the table," he said confidently. "I have pride in what I do, and I'm a team player. I'm unselfish on the field. As the number one team in country, we have to stay focused if we want to keep our ranking. Staying loyal to each other and playing hard are going to be important this year."

Northwestern runs elements of the spread, which will help Hargrett with his transition to WVU once his senior season is over. So too will the potential presence of a teammate.

"It's similar to what West Virginia runs, and I think that will be a good fit. Why not go somewhere with an offense similar to what I run? It should help me fit in and learn the offense more easily. My friend Robert Sands signed with West Virginia, and I hope he will get qualified and be there. I haven't had the chance to talk to him yet, but I will soon.

"I'm not worried about graduating early and getting started in college," Hargrett said. "I will have done everything I can do here, and I will be ready to move on to the next step."

Spoken, again, with the focus and direction he's displayed for many years. Daquan Hargrett Profile and Video

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