CREVE COEUR • Every day Darius Daies opened up his web browser, checked his profile and hoped for good news.
News that could determine the next four years.
Was he looking at recruiting websites for a write up? Were his fingers crossed for stars to be added to his name?
No and no.
Daies anxiously awaited his ACT score. Between two to three weeks after students take the test their scores are posted online. Daies said little prayers that he improved on his previous score of 25.
“As soon as two weeks went by I was checking every day,” he said. “I was scared I had a 27 or a 28. I really wanted a 29, that's where I needed to be.”
A senior running back at Chaminade, Daies finally received his results and had to make sure it was real.
He scored a 31.
“I was ecstatic. I called my mom right then,” he said. “I had to look through a couple of times. I texted my tutor and told her I got a 31 and she was like 'Are you serious?'”
With a 3.8 grade point average and his new personal best on the ACT, Daies was free and clear to be accepted where he wanted to play football all along – the Ivy League.
Daies, 17, gave a verbal commitment to Brown University this week. He is No. 26 on the Post-Dispatch's Super 30 countdown of the area's top senior football prospects.
The 5-foot-9 and 200 pound Daies was the top rusher for the Red Devils during its Class 5 runner-up finish last season. In a talented backfield that's a crowded house, Daies rushed 139 times for 874 yards and 10 touchdowns. Chaminade had five other running backs carry the ball at least 65 times, rush for more than 400 yards and score a combined 38 touchdowns.
Chaminade spread the wealth and it worked well on the field. But it can be hard to catch recruiters' eyes when there are so many options. Daies finished up his junior season and had some doubts he would have the chance to play Division I football. He had conversations with several Division III programs but hoped to go bigger.
During the winter things changed.
“I think it was February. I got an offer from Columbia out of nowhere,” Daies said. “It was crazy. Whenever I got that, I thought this was something I needed to push for grades-wise and at camps.”
A good student Daies attacked his ACT preparation to land a higher score to make him more appealing to the Ivy League. Some coaches said they could “sneak me in” with a 25 but a 29 or better made it easy. He got after it in the weight room and conditioning. Daies passed on running track his junior year to focus on the football offseason. He spent his summer attending football camps to compete and help his exposure.
“I decided with football I wanted to be serious about it for college,” Daies said. “I wanted to train during that time.”
With the start of preseason practices Daies made the decision to verbally commit to Brown. Verbal commitments are nonbinding and can be broken at any time. Senior football players can't sign their National Letters of Intent until February 1, 2017.
What had been a source of stress is now sweet relief. Daies put his recruiting process to bed and is free to enjoy his senior year and all the things that come with it.
“It feels like you lift the biggest load off yourself,” Daies said. “You have your senior year to focus on the season and grades.”
Daies has what he needs to be accepted at Brown but he's still chasing a bigger and better grade point average. He takes pride in defying the stereotype that football players are lummoxes in helmets. Engaging, bright and thoughtful, Daies would not be out of place with the chess club.
“The stereotype is football players are kind of dumb guys,” Daies said. “There are four kids in my grade (at Chaminade) with 35 (on their ACT). I got the 31 so I can be known as a smart kid now.”