January 15, 2009
Five-star cornerback clears the air
When you are dubbed a five-star prospect, extra attention immediately follows. West Helena (Ark.) Central cornerback Darius Winston has been a five-star prospect since the beginning of his senior season and since that time, he has not been able to hide from the spotlight - on or off the field.
When Winston committed to Arkansas in September, one of the biggest reasons was the tutelage of Arkansas defensive backs coach Lorenzo Ward. Consequently, when Ward recently left to take over a similar role at South Carolina, speculation ensued as to Winston's future.
"It was Monday or Tuesday when I found out [about Ward's departure]," Winston said. "My first priority was to see who Arkansas brought in first before I started looking at other schools."
On Thursday night, Winston got that answer and the answer more than satisfied him. Though he declined to go on record with the name of the new hire, he did talk about the conversation that the two had.
"I found out [about the new defensive back coach] today," he said. "I talked to [the coaches] today. I asked him how he used his corners and all about the scheme so he let me know and I'm basically cool with it and cool with Arkansas. Nothing is going to change between now and signing day. I'm still going to sign with Arkansas on signing day."
The thought of visits had been something that Winston was entertaining following the coaching change, but that is no longer the case.
"No visits," he confirmed. "I had thought about it but now that I know, no visits."
Now that questions have been answered for and by Winston, he may be able to stay out of the spotlight until signing day, but a player of his caliber won't be able to hide for long.
"I can say being a five-star, it seems like everywhere you go everyone knows me," Winston said. "Every time I step on the field whether to play or to practice, I feel like I have something to show and something to prove. All eyes are on you."
The attention off the field can be even tougher, with interested parties hanging on your every move. Winston tries his best to take it in stride in both areas.
"I don't enjoy it and I don't get tired of it," he said. "I just look at as if you're going to be that kind of player it's something you have to deal with. I have to be humble at all times. Off the field, I really try not to think about it at all."
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