2016: Willie's Bullies Chronicling USF Football's Class of 2016 Series USF Football Recruiting Class of 2016

USF Class of 2016 Chronicle: WR Darnell Salomon

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USF Class of 2016 Chronicle-WR Darnell Salomon by Matthew Manuri SoFloBulls.com (2046x1215) Round four in the USF Recruiting Class of 2016 Chronicle series introduces you to a Miami native that held 30+ offers from the most lauded programs in college football, including Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, and Notre Dame. USF Head Coach Willie Taggart and former wide receivers coach Ron Dugans were relentless in their pursuit of this onetime Gator commit, and for good reason.

USF Class of 2016 Chronicle: WR Darnell Salomon by Matthew Manuri | SoFloBulls.comThe Bulls staff nipped at the heels of this imposing, rangy and dynamic prospect, then ‘Ran Off the Plug, Twice‘ when the fax machine lit up on February 3rd and this 4 star recruits signed letter of intent came rolling out (video below). Meet 6’3″, 215 pound class of 2016 wide receiver Darnell Salomon.

Despite changing teams three times in High School, Salomon absolutely annihilated a varied group of opponents from the start at Hollywood Hills. Salomon transferred to Champagnat following his freshman season, a team I am very familiar with from my time at St. John Neumann (Naples, Fla.).

The Champagnat Lion turned Miami Central Rocket defensive back demoralizer pulled down 32 passes for 527 yards (16.5 yds./rec.) and eight touchdowns during his senior sendoff show. While Salomon’s 673 yard, seven touchdown junior campaign is certainly nothing to scoff at, the young Bull burst on the Miami-Dade football scene after hauling in 47 receptions for 896 yards (19.1 yds./rec.) and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. Salomon finished his illustrious high school career after thrashing the opposition for 2,565 yards and 31 touchdowns.

USF WR Darnell Salomon Champagnat Catholic with Championship Ring Profile Image SoFloBulls.com (960x1241)

Salomon won the Florida Class 2A championship in 2013 as a sophomore under Head Coach Mike Tunsil. The former Champagnat figure head shared some comments on national signing day about the productive pass catcher. “Salomon has talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level for USF,” says Mike Tunsil, Salomon’s coach at Champagnat. “USF is getting a great kid who is very coachable and a great team player. Coach Taggart and [wide receivers coach] Ron Dugans are getting a hard-working kid whose best football is ahead of him.” {HUDL HIGHLIGHTS HERE}

Salomon took home his second championship ring under then first year new head coach of the Miami Central Rockets Roland Smith. Smith sang the same tune about Salomon adding, “They are getting a big-time wide receiver. This is a prospect South Florida is missing on their team,” says Central coach Roland Smith. “Darnell has good body control, hands and speed. He will make an impact when he gets to South Florida.”

The love doesn’t end. Even ESPN’s Tom Luginbill gave a glowing review, describing Salomon as “shows surprising suddenness given his measurables”, “deceptively productive on underneath catches”, and “very good focus here”. Luginbill compared Darnell Salomon to current Clemson firecracker Deion Cain.
USF WR Darnell Salomon (Miami Central) The Opening 2015 Team Mach Speed Profile Images SoFloBulls.com ADJ (599x490)Salomon’s list of accolades is serious: early invitee to the 2016 Under Armour All-America Game, 2015 Florida All-State Class 6A Third Team Offense, 2013 Florida All-State Class 2A Second Team Offense, 2014 and 2015 First Team All-Dade, rated as the top recruit from Miami-Dade County by the Miami Herald in 2015 (No. 7 in 2016), and invited to the Rivals Five-Star Challenge. Salomon also finished in the 39th slot in ESPN’s class of 2016 Florida rankings and participated in The Opening in 2015 as a member of Team Machspeed with a star-studded cast.

Final choices for Salomon came down to Pitt and Marshall. When asked what lifted USF above the rest Salomon responded, “Great campus, great coaches, great teammates, and I want to join a family.”

When a reporter asked Salomon if he spoke to USF quarterback and fellow Miami native Quinton Flowers, he grinned then added, “Every day.” I fully expect Salomon to push for considerable playing time in the deepest USF wide receiver corps in recent memory. It’s time for the Bulls to live up to the hype in 2016, lofty expectations in lieu of unheeded underdog.

by Matthew Manuri
Editor | SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle

Recruiting Profiles and Highlights

Rankings ESPN 247 Comp Rivals Scout
Stars 4 3 4 4 4
Grade 82 87 89.71 5.8 N/A

Darnell Salomon 2013 Highlights

Darnell Salomon 2014 Highlights

Darnell Salomon Commitment Interview

ESPN Scouting Report

Size-Strength-Speed One of the best looking players in this class at his position. An imposing, rangy and athletic prospect with bulk, height and long arms. Is both quick and fast and shows surprising suddenness given his measurables. Shows very competitive speed on a straight-line, but he isn’t just a straight-line runner. Possesses the physical attributes you want in the position.
Separation Skills Explodes off the line with a long, powerful stride. Will get DBs to back off of him to size/speed combo. Can tempo his routes and shift gears fluidly. Doesn’t waste a lot of momentum going into breaks. Has enough quickness to stick his foot in the ground and speed cut sharply. Can create separation with quickness and use of his upper body to nudge through tight coverage. Can deceptively take the top off the defense. Needs more precision on intermediate routes.
Ball Skills Engulfs the ball with big hands and long arms. Can take the ball away from defenders in a crowd. Routinely works the middle of the field catching the ball in traffic — very good focus here. Is a complete mismatch on the jump ball at this level. This prospect gives the QB a huge window to throw into. Is also capable of adjusting to poorly thrown balls as well.
Big Play Ability Better vertically than after the catch. This is not to say he does not make things happen with the ball in his hands, in fact he is deceptively productive on underneath catches, but his size/speed ratio and ability to set up DBs on deep routes is very strong. When in the open field he is both quick and shifty enough to slip the first attempt to tackle. He is a playmaker when the ball is in the air. He is competitive and he attacks the ball with urgency. Always seems to come down with the big play when called upon.
Bottom Line Salomon is one of the better pure athletes this receiver class has to offer. Possesses the physical characteristics to be an impact player sooner rather than later. Needs polish and discipline as a route runner as he athletically wins with ease at this level, but will need more precision at the next. Potential difference maker.
Underclassman Evaluation STRENGTHS: Salomon is a tough, agile receiver who displays great ability after making the catch. Does a good job of catching the ball with his hands and then utilizes his speed to get up field quickly. Possesses terrific ball skills and body control and uses his height well in jump ball match-ups.

AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Needs to develop his upper-body strength. Can become an even more refined route runner. Top end speed is above average, but he may not be a jet.

BOTTOM LINE: Salomon should grow into a productive college receiver with more physical development and on field experience. Maturity over the next 18 months will really enhance his physical prowess. Excellent pass catcher.

Notes Previously attended Champagnat Catholic High School. 2013: Class 2A All-State selection as a sophomore.

SoFloBulls Blog by Matthew Manuri

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