Hernando senior LB Darren Hambrick has verbally committed to Missouri, Hambrick said Saturday in a text message.
“I should have done it a long time ago,” Hambrick said of pledging to the Tigers, his only offer from a BCS program. “I like the team. I like the program.”
The two-star recruit committed during Mizzou’s 21-16 win at UCF, which Hambrick watched on a visit with teammates K.D. Hagood and Tyrail Hawkins.
Hambrick, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound pass rusher, was an all-North Suncoast player as a junior. He ranked second on the team with 81 tackles and 5.5 sacks while helping the Leopards win their first district title since 1997.
As a senior, Hambrick has recorded 11 tackles, one sack, two quarterback hurries and an interception. He’s also caught two touchdowns at tight end.
He chose the Tigers over Kent State, UMass, Western Kentucky, South Alabama and others because he liked Mizzou’s coaches and the idea of playing in the SEC.
“They’ve got me in the palm of their hands right now,” Hambrick said.
He’ll play in the same conference where his dad competed. His father, also named Darren Hambrick, led Pasco to its only state title in 1992 and played collegiately at Florida and South Carolina before going to the NFL.
Verbal commitments are non-binding until recruits sign national letters of intent in February.