Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio) prospect Darryl Long came into the 2012 season with an opportunity to be a big part of the Wildcat’s offense, but to do that he would have to learn a whole new position and skill set. Not only did 6-foot-5, 230-pound recruit excel at the challenge, he's also begun to heat up the recruiting world with his play.
“This was my first year playing at the tight end position, so I learned a lot in a short period of time,” said Long. “I catch a lot of balls and I can line up with my hand in the dirt, so I feel I have a good feel of the position overall. I believe I'm very versatile and I've really been trying to improve my blocking this off-season. I'm working on my strength and speed, so if I had the pick one thing that I really want to improve it's my blocking.”
Being able to admit your weaknesses and improve on them is definitely an admirable trait, but it also usually points to a pretty darn good leader also.
“You have to keep working hard every day because there's somebody always working to try and take your position,” explained the talented tight end. “You can't slack off and you really have to give it everything you've got. I'm looking forward to helping lead my team next year and showing the guys that you never give up no matter what. You’ve always got to work hard to be the best you can be.
“I look forward to working with the younger guys coming in that are going to be in the same position I was in last year. I'm going to tell them to just keep their heads up, when the going gets rough, and keep focus.”
Long finished the 2012 football season with 27 catches for 427 yards and four touchdowns. Even though some people might not see, what they consider, eye-popping numbers, college recruiters have seen enough to deem him worthy of some pretty nice offers.
“I'm currently up to four offers at this time,” claimed the Westerville South standout. “I have offers from Pittsburgh, Illinois, Ohio and Bowling Green. I've also been hearing a lot from Louisville, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and West Virginia as well."
Though he appreciates the attention he's receiving early, Long understands his journey’s really just getting started.
“I feel blessed that I’ve already gotten some Division I offers, but I know I got to keep working hard and continue to get better before I get to the next level,” said the Ohio product.
With a number of schools already showing up on the scene, the junior has already started to prepare a list for what he'll be looking for in a university.
“I want to major in psychology, so I'll be looking for school that offers that as a major,” he shared. “I want to be coached by a coaching staff that can hopefully take my talent to the next level and bring the best out of me. I want to play for a team that really wants to win.”
One college he’s hoping to hear from in his recruiting journey hails from South Bend, Indiana and knows a little bit about winning.
“I know Notre Dame has a great program and they're playing in the national championship this year,” said Long. “I know they put out a lot of great players, especially at the tight end position. That's definitely a school I'm watching out for and I'm really hoping to hear from them.
“I want to get up to Notre Dame sometime in the future if possible because I've heard that it's really beautiful up there and the environment is wonderful. I'd really love to take a visit up there.”