June 16, 2010

Darlington Has Strong Ties to Sooner Athletics

Through the years a lot of talent has shown up at Oklahoma's summer camps but few travelled any further than Apopka, Fla. offensive guard Ty Darlington. However, there's also few players who have more obvious ties to the football program or grew up in such ardent Crimson and Cream homes.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound junior lineman may have grown up in the Sunshine state but the Sooners have always grabbed his attention. Well in fact it may have been a family member that made sure his eyes were focused on Norman.

"My mom grew up in Oklahoma and was on the pom squad in the late eighties and pretty much my entire family tree lives in Oklahoma City and Norman," Darlington said. "She made sure we were all Oklahoma fans."

Not surprisingly his trip to Norman was far from his first though he does admit that it was his first chance to really get around the coaches and get some up close looks at the facilities.

"A couple of years ago I got to go see them practice I think I was in fifth or sixth grade, but this time we had some coaches that took us through the facilities. It was all really nice," he said.

Darlington is not only the son of a cheerleader but also of a coach. The former may have given him good feet but the latter was also a big part of his performance in Norman on June 5. His technical ability became even more clear when facing Sooner defensive tackle target Jordan Phillips and while Darlington, at times, struggled he also learned a lot from the big run-stuffer.

"I thought I did pretty well, I thought I stacked up pretty well in the one-on-one stuff, I'm a little smaller than some of the other guys but my dad is a coach and I think that helps me quite a bit," he admitted.

"The big, tall kid (Phillips) he was big and he was quick. It may be difficult to go against those guys but those are the guys I'll face again in college so I like seeing where I'm at with those guys."

Being the son of a coach surely makes Darlington aware of just how each and every coach handles himself around players. And in a camp situation players get a better idea of what a coach may be like when he isn't simply recruiting them.

"I liked coach (James) Patton a lot, I liked the way he coaches, he was intense," he said. "I didn't think he was crazy or anything, he was very intense but encouraging at the same time."

Following camp Darlington was given the indication he would receive an offer and the situation came to fruition after his departure from campus. Another player that received an offer based on his camp performance is Lee's Summit, Mo. standout Evan Boehm. The two had a chance to talk while they were on campus and figure to stay in touch moving forward.

"I talked a lot with Evan and I know that he did very well too. We came in at the same time and we did a lot of tours together and everything. We're sort of similar, we're sort of the same height and both of our dads are coaches and so we've got a lot to talk about," he said.

However he isn't the last Darlington in Apopka that will be hitting the recruiting scene over the next few years. He'll be joining his younger brother at several camps, including Auburn, Georgia, Florida, and Florida State, this summer.

If he's anything like his brother, and listens to his mother, Sooner coaches are sure to be visiting Apopka frequently for the foreseeable future.

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