Darius Rush of South Carolina is one of a plethora of cornerbacks competing to hear his name called in the first two days of the draft. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said as many as 20 cornerbacks could have Day 1 or Day 2 grades.
At 6-foot-1⅝, 196 pounds (Senior Bowl measurements) Rush has the size and length Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale covets.
Something else the Giants covet, something they say all the time is they want “smart, tough, dependable” players. So, I asked Rush during his Thursday media availability how he embodies those characteristics.
“One way I embody those characteristics is off the field. I’m a guy who is laid back, doesn’t get into too much social things, clean off the field and on the field I make sure that I’m detailed in what I do, disciplined in my job,” he said. “Be in the right place at the right time, make sure I’m not in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stay away from trouble. In terms of smartness, I have an IQ for the game.”
Rush was also smart enough to make the Academic Honor Roll three times at South Carolina en route to earning a degree in sport and entertainment management.
He is also a young man of strong faith. He was wearing a necklace with praying hands on it Thursday, and credited his mother with instilling that belief in him.
“Mom kept me in church, she’d always tell me to pray every morning before we went to school,” Rush said. “Another thing – Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite scriptures – staying the course and the plan that He has for me. My mom preached that every day, we literally talk about it every day. This is part of the plan that He has for me and I’m just keeping the faith with it.”
Rush comes from Kingstree, S.C., a small, rural town.
“You don’t get too many opportunities around that area since it’s so small. Being from that area, not saying that it’s a bad area [with] drugs, none of that, it’s just a small town with not a lot of exposure,” he said. “For me to come from a small town like that and be in a predicament like this and be around all these guys. I just to show that no matter where you come from, no matter how small the town with just a little bit of hard work and keeping the faith you can make it anywhere.”
Rush, of course, is hoping to make it as an NFL cornerback.
He took a big step in that direction with an impressive Senior Bowl performance. He played well and he answered questions about his long speed during the week in Mobile.
“One thing I think I proved at the Senior Bowl is that I’m a DB. Whether it’s playing two years or playing 10 years. I’m fairly new to the position, that is true, I switched over [from wide receiver] in 2019. I [don’t] have as much experience as guys that have been playing there their whole career,” Rush said. “One thing I went there and proved is that I am a DB and I’m able to do what guys have been doing for 10 years. Just show my skillet. Out there able to play press man, play zone coverage and make plays when I need to.”
Rush said that his wide receiver background is helpful as a cornerback.
It really comes out with the ball skills,” he said. “Able to make plays on the ball and to have an anticipation of what’s coming next, such as different routes over a certain amount of years, different releases … the alignment of whether the receiver is inside the numbers or outside the numbers. That comes into play as well, and it helps out on the defensive side.”
The Giants could use a cornerback with the ability to make plays on the ball. We will see if Rush and the Giants match up in a few weeks.