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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
2015 DE Fullwood talks PSU offer, interest

By Josh Moyer

Darius Fullwood (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) alternated between dozing off and visualizing the moves he planned to make against opposing linemen during his drive to Penn State's Saturday camp.

This was the 2015 defensive end's first-ever team camp, so he wasn't sure what to expect. He just repeated to himself, during a car ride that began before sunrise, "Hustle all the time, do the drills correctly, pay attention to detail".

If he followed his own advice and visualized success, Fullwood thought he'd have a good chance at an offer. And, as it turned out, he followed that all to a tee. It paid off.

"Coach [Bill] O'Brien told me he's been watching my film more than one time, and he liked what he saw," said Fullwood, who's believed to be the only 2015 camper to come away with a Saturday offer. "He said he could see me playing early and to make sure that I keep in contact and try to come out to a game -- and he gave me the offer before he said all that."

Fullwood's performance was difficult for on-lookers to watch since he practiced on the far-side field, but his father approached several reporters during drills with a smile. He was pleased with his son's effort up to that point and expressed hope that his son caught Penn State's eye.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound prospect had already caught the attention of other college coaches. He holds offers from Florida State, Virginia Tech, Navy and Akron -- but he hoped Penn State might come around. PSU just began recruiting him in April, invited him to the spring game and visited him in May -- but the staff had clearly seen enough over the weekend.

"That's one of the teams I've really enjoyed watching," Fullwood said. "I knew that my interest was high, and now it's only gotten higher since they offered. Saturday was just a really good experience."

It's obviously early in the recruiting process for Fullwood. But he didn't hesitate when asked if PSU would end up being one of his finalists.

"Yes. Of course," Fullwood added quickly, as if he were surprised the answer wasn't already obvious. "I have no doubt about that. Penn State is going to be one of my top choices for where I want to go to college. They have so much to offer so, even though it's my sophomore year, I'm pretty sure that's not going to change."

Fullwood said he already feels comfortable on campus, and he raved about defensive line coach Larry Johnson and his teaching ability. He and Johnson worked closely, with the assistant offering critques and praise after every few plays.

Johnson told the recruit he was impressed with his motor, his finish and his first step off the ball -- all things Fullwood focused on during that long morning commute -- and Fullwood later explained just how much that time with Johnson meant to him.

"He's just a great coach," Fullwood said. "Just coming into his office and seeing how many people he got into the NFL and their success. Oh, and all the moves he used -- they were all taught by him. And it was just easy to comprehend the moves he showed us, along with all the film. I feel like that was all something I could really hang onto and use as I go back to finish high school, and even as I go on to college."

Fullwood still has two more high school seasons before he could find himself in Beaver Stadium, but the defensive end's excitement was palpable a day after reeling in that offer. He hopes to find a school close to home. And when asked what else he's looking for in a school, the Maryland native couldn't help but to start talking again about Penn State.

He excitedly rattled off a list of pros about PSU, ranging from Johnson to academics.

"I feel like if I go to Penn State, it'll be like a second home. Coach Johnson already seems like he can be my mentor. And no one on that staff has a bad attitude," Fullwood said. "You don't need anything to rev them up in the morning. And just how everything's set up, it's in the middle of the state -- so nothing's too far away.

"And they really help the students out, and they can tutor you in every subject. So all the pieces are kind of put together and set up right for me there."