During the months leading up to the DeSales High School football team's season, senior Brandon Derrow's focus rarely seemed to wane.
The biggest evidence may be how he looked each time he completed a workout.
"There was never a day he didn't come out of the weight room dripping with sweat," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "He's a mature kid and he works very hard, one of our hardest workers in the weight room in the offseason."
Listed at 6-foot-4, 241 pounds on his ScoutingOhio.com profile, Derrow has been on varsity since his freshman season and has developed into a key cog on defense the last two years from his strong-side end position.
This season, Derrow has added being a starter at left tackle to his resume after seeing time at tight end a year ago.
With Derrow taking on a more important overall role, the Stallions improved to 3-0 with a 28-7 win over Youngstown Mooney on Sept. 8.
DeSales plays Indianapolis Chatard on Friday, Sept. 15, at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, which is about 80 minutes from Chatard and two hours from Columbus.
"It was a lot easier because I had one job last year playing defense," Derrow said. "Playing offensive line is a lot to learn, knowing what to do with different schemes on defense. I knew a lot of the plays last year, but there have been some new things I've had to learn this year as an offensive lineman."
Not that he's struggled with his new role.
According to Wiggins, his goal was to get "the best guys in there," which is why he chose Derrow.
Derrow has the pedigree to excel at the prep level on either side of the ball considering his combination of size, quickness and in being what Wiggins calls a "high-motor guy with high energy (who is) relentless in his pursuit."
His abilities on defense helped him to become one of central Ohio's top college recruits from the 2018 class as well.
On Aug. 31, Derrow announced on his Twitter page that he had chosen to accept a scholarship offer to play for Colorado State from a list of schools that included Rutgers from the Big Ten Conference and most of the Mid-American Conference.
Derrow is one of three players from the Stallions' senior class to announce their college decisions. Ty Van Fossen committed to Cincinnati on March 1 and Brian Asamoah pledged to Oklahoma on Sept. 7.
Colorado State is located about 18 hours from Columbus in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Derrow had never been to that state until he took a visit to the school.
Jamie Bryant, a 1993 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate who previously coached at East Clinton High School in southeast Ohio and also had a stint as an assistant at Youngstown State and other colleges, is in his second season as the Rams' special teams coordinator and safeties coach.
Although Derrow isn't the first Stallions football player to commit to a school from the Mountain West Conference, he didn't expect it to happen at first.
Colorado State is in the Mountain West-Mountain Division with Air Force, where former DeSales standouts such as 2006 graduates Justin Moore and Chris Thomas and 2009 graduates Ike Ariguzo and Josh Kusan played.
Colorado State is located about two hours north of Air Force.
"I picked up a lot of MAC offers and one power-five offer, and coach Bryant recruits the Ohio area and has always been friends with coach Wiggins," Derrow said. "He offered me and I didn't think of it as realistic, but once I visited, I fell in love with the place. I could easily see myself going there. They have a brand-new stadium, it's beautiful and a great atmosphere. I was really blown away by it."
Derrow's brother, Michael, is a 2013 St. Charles graduate who competed in rowing in high school. It became clear to Derrow shortly after he entered high school, however, that his future might be linked to football.
Last season, Derrow had 34 solo tackles, 38 assisted tackles, eight tackles for loss and 3 1/2 sacks and made second-team all-CCL as the Stallions finished 13-1.
"Defensive end has always been the position I've played and, fundamentally it's what I'm best at," Derrow said. "Growing up as an athlete, football was my best sport moving forward with my body type. It's always been a sport I've loved."