For 2013 O'Fallon (Ill.) cornerback Darius Mosley, 23 is a magic number. It's his jersey number, and because of that attachment, it was also the day that he chose to commit to the Illinois Fighting Illini. In Austin, Texas on Saturday working with Team USA in preparation for the World Championships that begin on Saturday, Mosley made the phone call to the Illini coaching staff to inform them of the news.
The 5'11, 175-pound cornerback spoke with SB Nation on Sunday about his decision.
"Illinios is an in-school state, family and friends can come see me play," he said. "I have a chance for early playing time."
Like most prospects, a major part of his decision to commit to Illinois was based on his comfort level with the coaching staff in Champaign and the level of interest they showed in him.
"I have a great relationship with the cornerbacks coach and I'm looking forward to building great relationships with the other coaches as well," Mosley said. "They were on me hard, I felt like it was a place that I need to be."
In the end, it was a simple decision. "I felt the love from the coaching staff," he said.
Mosley also spoke about on the potential for early playing time.
"They are graduating some great senior defensive backs, so the open spots are there, and they talked about some playing time on special teams, as far as special teams and punt returns," Mosley said.
A consensus three-star prospect ranked among the top 35 cornerbacks in the country by Rivals and Scout, Mosley picked the Illini out of a top five that also included Iowa, Vanderbilt, Michigan State and Arizona State. He also held offers from Cincinnati, Kansas State and Purdue.
As a prospect, Mosley had a unique take on why he is well regarded. While most cornerbacks mention their speed or hips or physicality in press coverage, Mosley chose a different skill.
"I would say my vision on the football field; my ability to be in the right place at the right time," he said.
He's also working hard to improve for his senior season. A physical cornerback despite a wiry physique, Mosley wants to work on being more versatile in coverage.
"I'm working on my off-man technique," he said. "At O'Fallon, we play strictly man-to-man, press technique. I need to work on playing off instead of playing all up in a guy's grill all the time."
Unfortunately for wide receivers going against O'Fallon this fall, Mosley will still be all up in their collective grills, locking them down as he always does. It's a skill he'll take to the Big 10 conference come 2013, where he may quickly have the opportunity to prove he can do the same thing for Illinois.
Darius Mosely, WR/DB, Junior Highlights 2011, O'Fallon Football (via OFallonFootball)