The latest addition to the KU football family is an offensive tackle from San Diego named Matt Darton. Darton signed his letter of intent last week, and he's excited to head East to the city of Lawrence and play in the Big 12. Darton gives his initial impressions of Lawrence. "The town kind of grew on me. It's nice and small, and I wanted to leave the big city atmosphere."
Pittsburgh, Mississippi State, and San Jose State were some other schools that Darton had on his radar screen. The 6'6" 295 pounder explains why he went with KU. "I had other schools looking at and offering me, but Kansas is hard to compete with. They have great coaching and facilities. Also, it's a great school."
Darton played left tackle this past season for The University City Centurions. His quarterback loved him because Darton did not allow a single sack all year. It appears the San Diego product may not play next year as a true freshmen, and Darton seems okay with that possibility. "They are talking about red shirting me, but if they need me I'll be more than willing to go in and play."
KU has signed 4 offensive linemen including Darton in their 2004 recruiting class. All four players are high school seniors which means they'll have to consistently improve if they want to make a significant contribution at Kansas. Darton used one word to sum up where he needs to make the biggest strides.
"Strength." His size and weight of 6'6" and 295 lbs. makes him an obvious Division I caliber player.
Mark Mangino is known nationally for his ability to develop offensive linemen. His latest target thinks highly of the head man at Kansas. "I think he's a great coach. He's already won a national championship at Oklahoma. It's an honor to get to play for such a high caliber coach."
Everybody wants to play against the best competition, and Darton is pumped to play in the Big 12 conference. "It's very exciting to be in the Big 12 and play against some of the top teams in the nation."
Darton will know the conference much better than most people from the state of California even before he heads to KU next fall. The left tackle plays with the Jayhawks in EA Sports NCAA College Football 2004 on the Xbox. "I've been playing with Kansas lately, right now my team's 5 and 0." Hopefully, that's a sign of things to come for KU on the football field in the near future.