High School: Apopka HS (FL)
Literally thousands of Nebraska fans tuned into Darlington’s opening game of the year on ESPNU in early August – and they all saw something they might not ever forget.
Late in the fourth quarter, Darlington took a hit on the sidelines that knocked him unconscious, according to multiple reports. He was quickly airlifted to a regional hospital in South Carolina. The diagnosis was a concussion, his second in three months. At that point, Darlington’s father Rick (also Apopka’s head coach) and doctors decided it would be best for Darlington to sit out the remaining portion of the year.
Despite missing the season, Darlington was named a Semper Fi All-American, after throwing for 1,724 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2012, rushing for another 708 yards and a 10 touchdowns.
Darlington finds himself currently at least fourth on the depth chart, meaning a redshirt year is coming – likely a good thing after his injury concerns in 2013. He did graduate early, choosing to enroll at Nebraska in January, giving him the ability to go through the spring. The experience he got in those 15 practices is likely crucial going forward, but wasn't enough to propel him into a contender for the starting spot.
One of the big news tidbits though from the Huskers’ first practice earlier this week was Darlington wasn’t wearing a green jersey. Does this mean the Florida native is ready for a hit? Or will he be wearing one when the pads come on?
How he ended up in Lincoln:
Darlington’s relationship with the Huskers goes back quite a ways. The Florida prep showed up to Nebraska practices during the Huskers’ trip to the Capital One Bowl in December of 2012. Fresh off a state championship win, his recruitment was starting to take off and he appreciated Nebraska’s offensive scheme.
Fast forward two months and Darlington had an offer in hand, instantly pushing the Huskers to the front for his services; the only problem was that he had not yet visited Lincoln.
June rolled around and Darlington scheduled two unofficial visits – to Nebraska and Ohio State, his final two choices. He never made it to Columbus.
Despite not talking to reporters for nearly two weeks after his visit to Lincoln, the quarterback broke the news in mid-June that his recruitment was over and that he would be wearing the N on his chest.