Oh Darling! Snohomish ATH to Washington

When it came down to it, Jake Darling couldn't back away from the challenge. He had other opportunities, other avenues to pursue, but it wasn't at the highest level. And for that reason alone, the 5-10, 185-pound athlete has taken Rick Neuheisel up on an offer to walk on to the University of Washington.

"I want to play D1 ball," Jake told Dawgman.com. "I know that deep inside, I'd always regret it if I didn't give it a shot."

Jake played fullback in Mark Perry's wing-T offense, where he earned all-conference and all-area accolades. But arguably his best position is cornerback, where Darling racked up all-conference, all-area and Seattle Times 'Star Times' honors. And these honors aren't new to Jake. He was all-conference on offense and defense as a junior as well.

Darling was a starter for Snohomish against Kentwood in 2000 playoff matchup and then followed that starting both ways all games as a junior. "I was getting letters from schools all over the country," he said. "It was actually pretty overwhelming. But I know my 40 time didn't help me. I run a 4.7 and I don't bend my number. I guess I'm kind of naive that way but I won't do it."

In 2002, on offense Jake ran for over 1300 yards and on defense he had 6 picks for the Panthers. Although he's hasn't been timed in the 40 this past season, he has been credited with a 4.7 and 11.1 100meters as a junior.

Apparently schools shied away from Jake due to his apparent lack of foot speed, but he did receive some interest from Western and Central Washington, as well as some smaller Division-3 schools. "Once my senior season started, no one really did anything serious," he said. "But it's always been my dream to play D1 football, the highest level. Even when I was in the 9th grade, I had the chance to go to Archbishop Murphy, but I wanted to be at the top level."

Much like current walk-on safety Owen Biddle, Darling will bring a true blue-collar work ethic and his lunchpail to practice. "I'm just going to be one of those guys that just shows up and no one is going to expect me to do anything," he said. "But I will not be intimidated by anyone and I will always play as hard as I can. That's what it's all about. I'm always the hardest-working guy out there. I hate being outworked.

"Football will always take care of itself, because you always get out of it what you put into it."

Dawgman.com Top Stories