Better Know A Buckeye: Darryl Baldwin

Posted by Vico in Better Know A Buckeye |

Darryl Baldwin, playing in the Ohio North-South Classic held at Ohio Stadium last month. (Bucknuts)
Darryl Baldwin, playing in the Ohio North-South Classic held at Ohio Stadium last month. (Bucknuts)
This is a tough time of the year for the football blog. We just passed the midway point between the end of the bowl game and the beginning of the ensuing season.  Further, our last remaining hopes for springtime national glory — the men’s baseball, women’s softball and men’s tennis teams — were all bounced over the weekend by Minnesota (in Bob Todd’s finale), California (in a regional final) and USC (our tennis nemesis) in the NCAA team quarterfinals respectively.  I will attempt to break the monotony by better knowing Darryl Baldwin, a defensive lineman (likely strongside defensive end) from Solon, in this ninth installment of the third edition of this now 19-part series titled Better Know A Buckeye.

Baldwin is an interesting case at first glance.  A recruit without much fanfare, Baldwin was nevertheless one of the earliest offers by the Buckeyes in this class and acquired offers from every regional power of consequence (Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame).  Several tried to challenge Ohio State’s position with Baldwin, but the draw of the hometown offer was too much to pass up.  I review Baldwin in this feature in the regular fashion hereafter.

Height: 6’7
Weight: 265lbs
40: 4.7
High School: Solon HS; Solon, Ohio

His Recruitment: Baldwin got attention from the Buckeyes early in the process.  I do not doubt that the coaching staff has their collective eyes and ears peeled for upcoming, potential recruits, but it nevertheless is unusual for the coaches to act on Baldwin as early as they did.  He was essentially a camp offer.  The Buckeyes held their advanced camp for rising juniors and seniors early in June 2008.  Baldwin attended and impressed the coaches.  With already a year as a starter under his belt at Solon, Baldwin checked in at 6’6, 245lbs and running a 4.7 40.  That is not too shabby for a junior to be.  He performed well enough in camp that the coaches started keeping tabs on him two weeks later.  It helps that Baldwin, from the Buckeye recruiting safe spot that is NE Ohio, was an Ohio State fan through his youth.

The Buckeyes opened their 2008 season with a shutout victory over Youngstown State, where absolutely nothing bad or unfortunate happened whatsoever.  Baldwin was also notified that he had an offer.  It was exciting for Baldwin, the lifelong Buckeye fan in attendance for that game.  It added to an offer sheet that already included West Virginia and Illinois and it helped that it came while he was watching the Buckeyes play in the venerable Horseshoe for the very first time.  Baldwin decided that he did not have his fill of the recruiting process for the moment, but Ohio State was clearly in the lead.  He returned for other occasions, including the Penn State game later that same season and a junior day event in December.  Baldwin was impressed and enjoyed himself so much at both visits that it seemed a commitment may be in the foreseeable future.  It was not, but the Buckeyes were in the pole position for Baldwin even as his offer sheet grew.

Baldwin also played the shooty hoops for his high school, a season that begins in earnest right as the football season ends.  As such, nothing really changed in terms of his recruitment through his junior year of high school.  Several tried to make inroads with Baldwin, who made it quite clear through his recruitment that Duke (in Durham, North Carolina) would be the farthest he would be willing to go for college.  He made a trip to Penn State to see Beaver Stadium and meet with their coaching staff before enrolling in his second consecutive advanced camp at Ohio State.  He also tripped to East Lansing for Sparty’s junior day festivities and expressed an affinity for Charlie Weis (seriously) and Notre Dame.  However, it seemed Ohio State would be impossible to beat at this point.  The closer his recruitment seemed to a conclusion, the better it seemed for Ohio State.  Shortly after his school year ended, Baldwin identified July 20th as the day for his decision.

Further, there was not much to dislike about Ohio State if you were in Baldwin’s situation.  Already predisposed to like Ohio State, and fond of their coaching staff, the future depth at the defensive line position was very inviting.  Every high school player with D-1 potential is very aware of the depth at their projected position and just about all crave immediate playing time.  Ohio State is certainly not hurting at the defensive line, but the strongest, deepest position on the team in 2009 would weaken in 2010 as most expected that either (or both) Cam Heyward and Thaddeus Gibson would matriculate to the NFL a year early, coinciding with graduations elsewhere at that unit.  Again, we are not hurting at the position, but it gradually looks more and more inviting for a prospect.

Lastly, Mom was stumping for the Buckeyes as well.

“She would really like me to go to Ohio State,” he said. “And that’s gonna be big. She’s gonna be helping me with my decision for sure. She’s the one that’s been helping me with all this, so I’ll be listening to what she has to say.”

As July 20th approached, it appeared Baldwin was destined to end up at The Ohio State University for football and his studies.

His Commitment: Sho’nuff, July 20th came and went and Baldwin committed to Ohio State.  I intimated the reasons why in the previous section, so I will not belabor them here.  At the time, I thought he would be the last defensive linemen of the class, unsure of where we really stood with Sharrif Floyd and Johnathan Hankins.

Baldwin, the ninth commitment of the 2010 class, had acquired offers from just about every Midwestern school of consequence, including Notre Dame.  He also acquired offers from far flung places like Stanford and Duke before choosing the Buckeyes.

Where He Excels: Baldwin is a gifted athlete.  He has grown a lot since he got his offer and still managed to keep his speed.  Further, he also played tight end for his Solon Comets football team and was on the basketball and track teams, underscoring that — athletically — he can hang with anyone in this class.

Baldwin is a big boy and is not afraid to throw his weight around the line of scrimmage.  At 6’7, 265-ish pounds at the moment, he gives the coaching staff plenty to work with in the future.  He will continue to grow and, we expect, not lose a step athletically.  This should result in someone who is quite a handful for future offensive linemen.  A fairly nimble-footed defensive linemen of his stature will have to be accounted for in game preparations.

I have not read anything definitive about his future position on the defensive line, but I expect the ideal outcome is him fitting into the strongside defensive end position for the Buckeyes in the future, the position currently held by Cam Heyward.

Must Work On: Baldwin’s dilemma is that he is a gifted athlete, but still looking to, figuratively speaking, put the pieces together in order to become truly effective at the next level.  The truly great defensive ends are gifted athletes, but go beyond mere athletic prowess in order to further their craft.  Baldwin is not quite there yet.

There are a lot of mechanical things he will want to work on at Ohio State.  Hand placement and general use of hands stick out.  A lot of what you will see from Baldwin is him simply running into blockers in hopes that his massive frame will quickly overwhelm the opposition and allow him to get to the ballcarrier.  Ideally, he should be shooting his hands from his very generous wingspan in order to create separation between he and his blockers, allowing him quicker disengagement and more time to hurt the quarterback or other ballcarrier.  What will end up happening at the next level is that Baldwin will start creating situations where he effectively blocks himself.

Baldwin does not lack effort on the field, nor does he take plays off or let his “motor” idle.  He is just very raw and sometimes plays like he does not have full awareness of what he is doing and should be doing.  This can obviously be corrected with some diligence by Baldwin and the coaching staff.  Putting forward the necessary effort in practice to become a technician of his craft will be the difference of moving away from the Rob Rose end of the SSDE continuum toward the Cameron Heyward end.

Redshirt? Unless he turns heads this summer in what should be a (fairly) crowded defensive line depth chart that includes Melvin Fellows’ Safari Planet coming off his redshirt year at the same position, I do not see Baldwin playing in 2010.  Frankly, I think he stands the most to benefit from a year of scout team duties done to preserve future eligibility.

Highlights: ScoutingOhio rocks the body that rocks the party. Senior season footage is up first, followed by what I believe is all junior year (as opposed to junior/sophomore year).

He was also interviewed by Bucknuts as part of their signing day festivities.

Miscellany:

  • I did not have time or appropriate space to fit it into his recruiting story, but the Wolvereenies were high on Baldwin’s list through his junior year of high school (particularly through the end of 2008).  He took a visit to Ann Arbor, as you will see in my commitment post in July of last year.
  • Unless there is a piece of his story no one has told me, it seems that he was enrolled at Solon at the same time as current Buckeye center Dallas Lauderdale.  Lauderdale would have been a senior when Baldwin was a freshman.  I am not sure if Baldwin was on varsity as a freshman, or even playing basketball altogether, but it remains a possibility.
  • Darryl Baldwin is good to his mother and let it be known he wanted to stay close to home.  As such, Michigan State — who Baldwin suggested recruited him the hardest — kept in constant e-mail contact with his mom to try to win her over.  I am not passing judgment on that recruiting tactic as it will be hard to approximate Urban Meyer’s channeling of the Almighty in recruiting Sharrif Floyd.  Nevertheless, observing how cutthroat recruiting can be makes this anecdote, at the most, whimsical.
  • Baldwin played in the Ohio North-South Classic, along with future Buckeyes Tyrone Williams, JT Moore, Christian Bryant and game MVP, Verlon Reed.  The reviews were mixed, praising his stature among the participants but noting that he did little to report.
  • An undefeated senior season of football got its first blemish in the playoffs, against the Glenville Tarblooders.
  • The Northeast Ohio Conference, in which Solon is placed, is the same conference of Brush (Roy Hall), Garfield Heights (Melvin Fellows’ Safari Planet), Lakewood (Pete Cusick), Twinsburg (that punter dude that was the best offensive player for the Wolverines for the past two seasons), and Elyria (Buckeye great Vic Janowicz and future Buckeye Chase Farris).
  • In a profession where minimally qualifying test scores and GPAs are becoming more frequent, it is refreshing to see that Baldwin carries a 3.4 GPA, a 25 on his ACT and is thinking about enrolling in the College of Enginerding.
  • Pre-compiled stats, courtesy of Bucknuts.  There is also plenty of rich, creamy fluff in that article, but I think Bucknuts would yell at me if I block copy-pasted it here:

* Vital Statistics: As a senior, Baldwin was a third-team All-Ohio selection in Division I. He had 63 tackles with 25 tackles-for-loss on defense and had seven catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns on offense. Baldwin played both defensive end and tight end during his junior season. He had seven sacks, caught eight passes and scored three times. He has been selected for the Ohio All-Star Classic April 23 at Ohio Stadium.

* Rankings: He is rated as the No. 5 overall senior prospect in Ohio, according to Ohio High magazine/JJHuddle.com. Also rated as the No. 5 overall prospect in the state, according to The Ohio Football Recruiting News. Baldwin is rated as a national top-150 prospect by ESPN Scouts Inc. That site ranks him as the nation’s No. 131 prospect overall and also as the nation’s 13th-best defensive end. SuperPrep considers Baldwin as an All-American, ranking him as the 19th-best prospect in the Midwest and the nation’s No. 46 defensive end.

I am concluding that Darryl Baldwin is now better known.

The More You Know
The More You Know

I should put him on the board too.

Class of 2010
Name Position Hometown Better Known? Name Position Hometown Better Known?
Darryl Baldwin DE Solon, OH 05.25 James Louis WR Delray Beach, FL
Drew Basil K Chillicothe, OH 05.17 Scott McVey LB Cleveland, OH 05.03
Corey Brown 2010 ATH Springfield, PA JT Moore DE Youngstown, OH 02.15
Christian Bryant DB Cleveland, OH Andrew Norwell OL Cincinnati, OH 03.29
David Durham LB/DE Charlotte, NC 04.12 Verlon Reed ATH Columbus, OH
Taylor Graham QB Wheaton, IL 05.08 Bradley Roby DB Suwanee, GA
Adam Griffin ATH Columbus, OH Roderick Smith RB Fort Wayne, IN 05.13
Chad Hagan LB/S Canonsburg, PA Jamel Turner DE Fork Union, VA 03.08
Johnathon Hankins DT Detroit, TSUN Tyrone Williams WR Cleveland, OH
Carlos Hyde RB Naples, FL 06.29.09

 

Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.

 

4 Responses to “Better Know A Buckeye: Darryl Baldwin”

  1. 1 CJ

    Now I’m not a football coach or anything, but I saw him play my brothers team once in like the second game of the season this year, and honestly he was really underwhelming. Baldwin is huge and athletic, but he didn’t really have an impact on the game. Now it looked like we ran every play away from his side, but he looked really raw to me.

  2. 2 Ken

    Looks like a ‘project’ with a pretty good upside. Glad to see that he really was interested in becoming a Buckeye and his classroom cred.

  3. 3 E

    A “project” that is an athletic specimen and has plenty between the ears (based on his grades/ACT) sounds good to me. I guess it’ll take him a few years to break through, but if he works hard and can put it all together he could be an absolute beast by the time he’s a junior/senior.

  4. 4 Fear the Elf

    Something that could’ve been in the miscellenia section: One of Baldwin’s assistant coaches at Solon was Thom McDaniels. Thom is the father of Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, and was head coach of Mike Doss and Maurice Clarett, amongst other Big ten players, in HS.

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