Good Counsel’s Darius Fullwood, Gonzaga’s Jabari Greenwood commit to Kentucky football

As Jabari Greenwood rode to the house of Good Counsel defensive lineman Darius Fullwood on Saturday for their joint college announcement, the Gonzaga rising senior wide receiver juggled both a sense of conviction and uncertainty.

Gonzaga wide receiver Jabari Greenwood (left) and Good Counsel defensive lineman Darius Fullwood committed to play football at Kentucky on Saturday (Brandon Parker/The Washington Post).
Gonzaga wide receiver Jabari Greenwood (left) and Good Counsel defensive lineman Darius Fullwood committed to play football at Kentucky on Saturday (Brandon Parker/The Washington Post).

Greenwood had made up his mind for some time now and had no shame in showing it, wearing a blue-and-white Kentucky hat almost everywhere he went. But even after the close friends had agreed earlier this week to make their college commitments together and discussed the idea of playing at Kentucky, Greenwood strode into Fullwood’s Bowie residence unsure of if he was entering the home of a future college teammate or rival.

About 30 minutes before their announcement, Greenwood received his reassurance. Fullwood would also become a Wildcat, news that they both ultimately shared to about 50 close friends and family members by flipping on a gray Kentucky hat.

“We had always talked about going to the same school, but this was never really the plan,” said Greenwood, whose finalists included Illinois, Michigan State, N.C State and Rutgers. “We met during the week and that’s when I decided that I was going to commit. When I decided, he was kind of still up in the air about it and then when I came today…I don’t know (laughter). He committed and I’m happy.”

“It was hard, man,” said Fullwood, who chose Kentucky over Maryland and Virginia Tech. “Just talking to a lot of people throughout this week having different opinions on the different schools and what they think, so I had a longer process. But at the end of the day, I’ve got to do what’s best for me. I prayed on it and came out with the decision today.”

With Fullwood and Greenwood’s tandem commitment, the Wildcats snagged explosive playmakers on both sides of the ball that should help them better contend in the powerful SEC.

Both players’ journey to this point has had its ups and downs, injuries and achievements. As a freshman, Fullwood discovered during a routine physical that he had a heart murmur due to one of his arteries being on the wrong side of his heart. Without surgery, Fullwood would be unable to play sports again. With surgery, he would undergo an intense, four-hour procedure that didn’t guarantee full recovery.

Motivated by his love for sports, Fullwood persauded his parents to allow him to have the surgery. Ever since his successful operation in 2011, Fullwood has developed into a 6-foot-3, 240-pound nightmare on the defensive line, using his speed and power off the edge to help lead Good Counsel to the 2012 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title.

As a junior, Fullwood racked up three sacks and 11 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, in four games before missing the rest of the season with a broken foot. Now, with his health issues and college decision behind him, Fullwood is ready to again lead Good Counsel’s defense before making his mark as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker at Kentucky.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of recruits and it seems like everybody welcomed me in as a family,” Fullwood said. “I’ve got a great relationship with the coaching staff, especially the defensive side of the ball. They’ll be able to get me to the next level, so that’s how I got to my choice.”

Also playing a role in both Fullwood and Greenwood’s decision was former Good Counsel standout and Kentucky rising freshman safety/linebacker Kobie Walker. Late last year, Walker told his two friends not to sleep on Kentucky as a football team. The words stuck with Greenwood, who was offered by the Wildcats in January while he was still recovering from a knee injury that had cut his junior season at Gonzaga short after catching 30 passes for 487 yards and four touchdowns.

“When I first got the offer, [Walker] just told me, when you hear Kentucky you don’t think much about it. But when you visit, you’re definitely going to fall in love with it,” Greenwood recalled Saturday.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver has the size and quickness necessary to make possession receptions and break away for long runs after the catch. This fall, he will play alongside five other Football Bowl Subdivision commits at Gonzaga, including running back Reggie Corbin (Illinois), quarterback Nick Johns (Virginia), defensive back Marcus Lewis (Florida) defensive back Sammy Morrison (Arizona) and offensive lineman Richie Petitbon (Alabama).

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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Jason Butt · June 28

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