June 17, 2011

Sooners Land Nation's Top Center

While Sooner fans had spent the past several months sweating out the recruitment of Apopka, Fla. offensive lineman Ty Darlington and the overtures from Auburn, Florida State, Stanford, and LSU among many others it seems that there was one group who was simply waiting for the nation's No. 1 center to make his pledge for the Sooners.

His family.

It's well known in recruiting circles that Darlington has massive ties to the Oklahoma area, including being the Son of a former Sooner pom squad member.

Needless to say when he came home on Thursday night and was prepared to make the decision he'd been nearing for a few weeks his mother's cheering background helped the reality sink in that Darlington was about to set the course to fulfill his lifelong dream.

"That sort of hit me last night when I called coach (James) Patton. I got home real late because I had a baseball game I had to go to. Well when I got home my brothers and sisters have accumulated a lot of Oklahoma's gear and they had it on. I don't know if you knew but I'm the oldest of seven and they were all dressed up in their OU stuff, my mom was all excited. After I talked to coach Patton I called all my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents and let them know."

While he didn't believe his mother would be painting the Darlington household crimson red, he did admit that when they travel around they are paying homage to his mother's alma mater.

"She is definitely jacked up about it, we have a Crimson passenger van. That might get some Sooner stickers very soon. I think everyone is excited, it's nice to just kind of take a weight off my shoulders."

Though word broke on Friday morning that Darlington had come to a decision he says the decision to wait to speak publicly was something that was important to both he and his father.

"The plan was to let coach Patton know last night. I had planned to talk to coach Stoops last night but I didn't reach him, I'll have to call him here in a second," he said. "I planned to call coach Patton and talked to the other top couple of schools because you develop a relationship with those coaches and because you don't want them to read it on the internet."

"It is important that Ty tell the coaches of the schools he is not attending before they read it," his father, and head coach, Richard Darlington echoed.

Darlington, who is the definition of a student-athlete admits that the schools that were the biggest threat to his lifelong following of Sooners may well have been Stanford and a few others that are well known for their education. However, the more he looked at things he realized the blend of academics and athletics in Norman was the right fit for him.

"I definitely feel like I can get a great education at Oklahoma, at some other places, I felt like I had to give them a look. I've just been praying about it and realized I needed to follow my heart, and since I was a little kid I've wanted to go to Oklahoma and that's sort of been my dream, when God gives you that opportunity you need to accept it," he said.

"(Also) I love the coaching staff, coach Patton does a great job, and I love coach Stoops, coach Kittle, and the guys that I'll be working with. I felt it was a good fit overall. I love being around the program, and in the coming years, we've got a chance to be pretty good, that's definitely one thing I've said from the beginning; I want to win championships and we've got some great guys coming in."

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