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June 13, 2013

DeBerry all smiles as recruiting journey begins

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CHICAGO --For Richmond, Va., junior-to-be Ricky DeBerry, the month of June has been an exciting one. He and his father flew to Oklahoma on the heels of devastating tornadoes to tour the campus of the University of Oklahoma earlier this month.

Then he flew to Chicago on Rivals.com's dime to compete in the Five-Star Rivals Challenge on Soldier Field.

After this, he and his father will embark on a multi-state, multi-region tour of the top colleges across the country. They are set to visit Clemson and Georgia this coming weekend, with plenty more trips on the way.

Unlike stars of the 2014 class, DeBerry doesn't have any cuts to make. He doesn't have any lists to keep.

SCOOPHD: 2015 LB RICKY DEBERRY AT RIVALS CHALLENGE

video by Eddie Radosevich

Right now, the 6-foot-3, 237-pound LB/DE is just enjoying things as he's being showered by scholarship offers from across the country, glowing as he just finishes participating in what has become one of the most prestigious camps in Chicago.

"It was real good, real good," said DeBerry. "I got to compete against some of the top guys in the country and got to see where I was at. I've got things I need to work on and things I was already good at. It was a great experience for me. I just came in and learned and I'll get better from my experiences."

You can term DeBerry a man-child if you want. He's a year younger than most of the competitors at the Rivals Challenge and you'd never know it by looking at him.

Schools continued to alert DeBerry he had offers the entire time he was in Chicago. The day he arrived to check-in for the event, Florida State became the next big name to extend an offer.

DeBerry doesn't have to decide anything, but it's clear he's taken the on-ramp to the high-speed world of big-time college recruiting.

"Right now I'm going to take it easy and take a week off but then I'm right back on the grind after that," he says. "Sometime we're taking a southern tour and going across the southern states and also going on the West Coast this summer too. We've got big summer plans and I'm just looking forward to it."

DeBerry worked out at the Rivals Challenge as a linebacker. He's plays defensive end during his high school career. So he's in a bit of a transition mode as a player.

When DeBerry visited Oklahoma, he met with Jerry Montgomery, Oklahoma's defensive line coach, but he understands a lot of schools are looking at him as a linebacker as well.

"I ain't got time to relax. I've got a lot of work to do still trying to transition from defensive end to linebacker," DeBerry said. "I still have a lot of work to do with my footwork and trying to get bigger. My summer's going to be very busy and I'm just looking forward to it."

In Oklahoma, DeBerry was dressed in a tank top and wearing dark sunglasses. He seemed a bit unapproachable and guarded.

It was difficult to get a read on his mood as he and his father asked me for directions to the OKC airport. Their visit to OU had just ended.

DeBerry was quiet. Reserved.

Sunday after the Rivals Challenge, DeBerry's personality was on full display.

He was grinning from ear-to-ear, engaging, and much more talkative.

So we finally talked about his trip to Norman.

"It was real good, real good," he said emphatically. "I really liked the coaching staff a lot. I really liked the facilities and tradition of Oklahoma. A lot of big time players that have come through Oklahoma have done well at the next level.

"Me and coach Montgomery already have a great relationship with each other but I'm trying to build a relationship with coach Kish and coach Norvell and also coach Stoops. Being able to sit in his office was an honor for me."

DeBerry will have plenty of schools to compare his Oklahoma experience to by the time he and his father take their family vacation across America this summer. But DeBerry liked Oklahoma enough, he wants to continue the tour into the fall for Oklahoma's biggest game of the season in 2013.

"I really want to get back down there and hopefully this upcoming season I'll get to see a game, most likely the Red River Rivalry, he said. "I heard that's one of the big games so I really want to get down there for that."

It's just the beginning for DeBerry. It's most likely he'll get weary, he'll get tired, he'll eventually want this to be over.

But not right now. Right now, DeBerry is just beginning his journey with as much excitment as possible.

Right now it's nothing but smiles.



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