Darnell talks Army offer

The Army offer came as a bit of a surprise to Jackson Darnell on Friday morning of July 11th. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive lineman from Champlin, Minn., just north of the Twin Cities, had not had much communication from Black Knight coaches but is enthusiastic to learn more about the storied U.S. Military Academy.

"Before yesterday morning, I had only received a few letters here and there from Army," Darnell said to ArmySports.com. "I knew that the defensive coordinator really liked my film but had not heard anything more. Then the coach who recruits my area said he liked how I play the game extremely hard and that he sees me as a smart kid who would be a great fit in their defensive line and would like to offer me.

"To be honest, I wasn't all that familiar with West Point but the more I hear about them, the more intrigued I am. The Director of Football Operations at my school went to West Point and he has nothing but good things to say about it. I know they play some damn good football teams. They compete against the very best in the country and that's intriguing in itself. I'm actually thinking about going soon to see what it's like but I'm not sure when at this point."

Darnell also holds offers from North Dakota State and South Dakota State, both FCS schools. He has attended one-day camps this summer at Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Wisconsin and still plans on making camps at Minnesota and Northern Iowa. He's also hearing from Purdue.

"I think that in a month's time I'll have a better idea of where I'm going to be playing my college ball," he said. "The number one thing for me is just the overall comfort level I have when I'm at the college. I want to go somewhere I can play and win. I love to be on the field, but I also love to win. Who doesn't?"

Unfortunately the Champlin Park High School Rebels didn't do much winning last season. They were just 3-6 on the year. Darnell says he has "played anywhere you can imagine" on the field for Champlin Park starting at defensive line, linebacker, and fullback.

"Last year we had a rough season but we're looking stronger with experienced players coming back," he said. "We should be better. Last year I played linebacker but this year I'll be playing nose guard in a 3-4 defense. What I bring to the table is leadership, super aggressive play, and a hard-nose for the football. I hustle on every play and don't stop until I hear the whistle."

Despite recent woes, Champlin Park won the Northwest Suburban Conference four times from 2006-2009 and has two state championship second place finishes in 1998 and 2002.

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