King Darrell?

Homecoming King or Kansas Jayhawk?  Living life in either role would be sweet, but for Darrell Stuckey there's no question which is sweeter.

The KU football commit is up for Homecoming King this Friday night at Washington High School in Kansas City.  Winning that honor would be quite a thrill, but even if Stuckey is dawning a crown instead of a helmet by the end of the night, that excitement pales in comparison to how excited he is to be a future Kansas Jayhawk.

“Well, it’s an honor,” Darrell Stuckey said of his nomination. “But it doesn’t mean too much.  It’s nice to know that you’re popular and people respect and look up to you, but it’s just a title and a crown.  So, I’m looking forward to it, but it’s not a huge deal.”

Not nearly as amazing as the thought of wearing the crimson and blue next fall.

“It’s been a dream for a long time to get to go to the University of Kansas and now that Coach Mangino is there it’s even more exciting.  I fell in love with Coach Mangino and how he’s changing things around and how his career has gone.  He’s been to all these places and had success everywhere he’s gone.”

Stuckey hopes to be a part of that success at Kansas and is already impressed with the progress the program has made over the past year.

“I’ve been to both home games already.  I’ll probably be at all the home games. They look great. I think they’ve looked a lot better over the past year, and the defense is looking very strong.”

The future KU defensive back was disappointed over the Jayhawks’ loss last weekend at Northwestern, but was still impressed with the defensive effort.

“Northwestern is a Big 10 team and the defense did really well versus them, so I think they’ll continue to do well in conference play.”

While Stuckey’s favorite college team failed to reach 3-0 for the first time since 1997, his current high school team is 3-0 again this year and expecting even bigger things later in the season.

“We’re doing pretty good,” Stuckey admitted. “We’re 3-0. It’s a good record but we’re never satisfied.  The goal is a state championship.  We have the potential and we have the team to make it to the playoffs, but we want to do more than just make it to state.”

Stuckey’s Washington High football team will continue their quest later this week – on the same night he finds out about his royalty status.

“We’ve got our homecoming game against Wyandotte. It’s our league rival who beat us last year.  They beat us late, kind of like KU and Northwestern, so we’re excited for the game.”

His biggest fan is also excited.  Stuckey’s mother, Michele Y. Foulks-Liggins, is his most loyal supporter and naturally, a big Kansas fan as well -- especially now that her son has picked the Jayhawks.

“Me picking Kansas is also good because I’m a mama’s boy too,” Stuckey said with a laugh. “Growing up, my mom would do anything to go to my game.  She’d drive around all over, take off work early and always be filming my games.  Every game I’d play, she’d take along here camcorder and I don’t just play football, I’m a three sport athlete.  She’d always be there though.”

Stuckey’s mother will continue to be there for him when he’s running up down the field at Memorial Stadium over the next four years, but when her son was narrowing down his list of schools she didn’t want her loyal support and Kansas City location to get in the way of her son’s top choice.

“She said not to use her as an excuse to pick a certain school,” Stuckey explained.  “She wanted me to pick a place that I liked and a place that had a good program for my major.  Kansas has a great sports medicine and athletic training program.  So, we’re both happy.”

With the camcorder rolling, both mother and son should be happy on Friday regardless of the homecoming decision.  So long as Washington High keeps winning and Stuckey’s days a Jayhawk keep growing closer, he and his family will have plenty to smile about throughout the fall.


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