It was less than one month ago, as The Post shot its winter All-Met pictures, that Ron Darby said he was in no rush to sift through the myriad of scholarship offers facing the Potomac (Md.) junior running back and defensive back.
In the past 48 hours, though, the speedster made his way to South Bend, Ind., for the first time and decided there was no need to take any longer. On Saturday morning, a few hours before the Fighting Irish played its annual spring game, Darby committed to play for Coach Brian Kelly.
“I just felt it, I knew this was where I was going to end up,” said Darby, who expects to play defensive back in college and also can make quite an impact as a kick returner. “There was no need to keep it to myself.”
Potomac Coach Ronnie Crump, who went on the visit with Darby, said he knew that Darby liked Notre Dame but was surprised when the player decided to end the recruiting process Saturday.
“Everybody talks about athletics and academics, but his parents believe this is the ultimate place for him to take advantage of” life after football, Crump said. “They definitely wanted him to leave the D.C. area.”
Darby said he arrived at Notre Dame on Friday and took a tour of the campus and met the coaching staff. He had been on visits to other colleges, but said that Notre Dame was different. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Darby was a second-team All-Met football player this past fall and was the All-Met Athlete of the Year this past indoor track season.
“I know other schools are probably going to look better, their stadiums are going to be bigger, the weather is going to be better, but it’s not about any of those things,” Darby said. “It’s about life after football. And I think Notre Dame can help me with that.”
Despite being the focus of every opponent’s defensive game plan, Darby rushed for 1,329 yards and scored 23 touchdowns last season. He said he received an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but chose to play in the UnderArmour All-American Game instead.