Sunday was a busy day for Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep five-star defensive end Darius Hamilton. The nation's No. 5 overall prospect finished up his official visit to the University of Florida in the morning, and was touring in the bright lights of New York City by dinner time.
Hamilton arrived in Manhattan shortly after returning home from his Florida visit to join the U.S. Army Player of the Year Tour with fellow five-star prospects Dorial Green-Beckham and Stefon Diggs. He sat down in the studio where they shoot Saturday Night Live at Rockefeller Center following a tour of NBC's facilities, and discussed his recent trip to Gainesville.
"Florida was a good place," Hamilton said. "I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I liked all the players, I loved the area down there and everything was good."
Rutgers has been the team to beat for the 6-4, 245-pound Hamilton, but the Gators are giving the home state team a run after the recent official visit to Gainesville.
"I love Rutgers and they're No. 1, but definitely going to see Florida is making my decision a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be," Hamilton said.
Hamilton's school is an hour's drive from Rutgers campus, and the five-star defender has made the trip several times over the course of his recruitment, building a strong familiarity with the program.
"It's somewhat like my high school where I come from. It's a tight knit group of people… a family," Hamilton said. "I'm sure it is like that in a lot of places, but the feeling I get from Rutgers is a special feeling. Coach [Greg] Schiano is a great guy, and all the players love him and he respects them."
As recently as last week, Hamilton was listing as many as seven schools that could be in the running for his services, but his focus is quickly narrowing.
"I've got a top three, and if it opens up any further than that, I'll keep everybody posted," he said.
Rutgers and Florida are in that top group. The Cal Bears appear to round out the top three with an official visit to Berkeley upcoming.
"I go to Cal this coming week and I might set up a Rutgers [official visit] sometime," he said. "As for now, that is it. [Ohio State head coach] Urban Meyer called me the other day and we'll see how far that goes. USC is not out of it."
It is obvious Hamilton's recruitment is evolving quickly, but where and when it ends remains to be seen.