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It seems that with every top quarterback in the state of Florida there comes a certain comparison.
Former Oviedo Hagerty star and current Florida starting QB Jeff Driskel heard it.
And it’s no different for Zack Darlington. When Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer called to make a scholarship offer to the Apopka quarterback on Thursday, there it was … the Tebow Comparison.
“He hasn’t seen me in person yet, but he said from what he’s heard and seen on film that I remind him a lot of [Tim] Tebow because of my willingness to work and my will to win,” Darlington said. “He’s coached Heisman Trophy winners and numerous national champions and coached numerous guys to the NFL and for him to say that … it’s a pretty big compliment.”
It was difficult for Darlington, who gets a bit giddy with each offer he’s extended, to contain his enthusiasm for this one.
“It’s quite a big one. I was ecstatic,” said Darlington of his 11th NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offer. His other offers are from Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Minnesota, Arizona, NC State, Boston College, West Virginia and FAU. UCF also quietly offered the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder last week.
“That’s the one I’ve really been working for, Ohio State,” Darlington said. “I’ve gotten so much stronger and faster and when they came down I was just hoping I’d impress them, and I guess I did. In less than 24 hours, Coach Meyer called and offered me.”
Ohio State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tim Herman was in Apopka for the Blue Darters first spring practice Wednesday and liked what he saw.
Darlington, who led Apopka to a 13-2 record and the Florida Class 8A state championship last season, brushed off the Tebow comparison.
“Obviously I’m not going to be Tebow,” he said. “All I can do is be the best Zack Darlington I can be and if that’s good enough hopefully one day he’ll compare another kid to me.”
The offer, however, is not something he takes lightly.
“I think it puts them right up there. Obviously it’s a really huge one for me,” Darlington said.
He also said he’s not currently focused on making his college decision anytime soon, but he would like to get the process completed before the Darters open the 2013 season Aug. 24, in a nationally televised showdown at Duncan (S.C) Byrnes High on ESPN.
Darlington, the No. 1-ranked player in the Sentinel’s 2014 Central Florida Super60, has been working hard in the offseason on his speed and strength. He’s gained close to 10 pounds since last season, but more remarkably, he now has his 40-yard-dash times down in the 4.43-second range.
“I’m not gonna lie … the 4.43 kind of jumped out at me,” Darlington said. “I trained for it and I’ve gotten faster and stronger. I ran kind of like a practice 40 and ran a 4.5 and I wasn’t feeling my best. Then a week or two later we ran our team 40s and I ran four different 40s. I had a 4.43 twice, a 4.47 and a 4.45. I was surprised they were so consistent.”
For a player who already ran well, especially as a quarterback, it gives Darlington an added dimension about which teams will need to be concerned.
“I feel so much different in the pocket,” Darlington said. “When I drop back and something breaks down, I’m going and no one can catch me … it feels weird.”
Herman had told Darlington on Wednesday the Buckeyes might have even offered him without seeing him in person, they were so impressed with his film, but the Ohio State staff does not make offers without first meeting the player.
“I think I had a good practice,” Darlington said. “It think he was surprised by my speed and my size. He said a lot of times they’ll be thrown off by a kid’s size from what they were listed on paper, so he was surprised my size was what it was supposed to be.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.
No. 1 ranked player in Central Florida compared to Tim Tebow
Nice. I hope he decides before the end of August though
Sub 4.45 speed for a QB, wow.
Said it earlier, some style points of his film reminds you of a Manziel as well.
Throwng on the run, impressive and he usually leads a WR well for YAC.
Could be a nice pick up and a foot in the door for a football power in Florida.
He is producing against elite competition as well.
This kid's Hudl film looks awesome. I think he's my pick of the 3.
it's tough, especially between him and harris, but i think he's my choice as well.
Very well spoken. Especially loved this quote: “Obviously I’m not going to be Tebow," he said. "All I can do is be the best Zack Darlington I can be and if that’s good enough hopefully one day he’ll compare another kid to me.”
We may have lost the battle......but not the war.
Dude is way faster than Harris and is lightyears ahead in the passing game.
He just led his team to a title in the big boy division of Florida football. Would love to see him in S&G.
Our quarterback does front flips, suck it.
When A Kid is beasting against florida 8A that is something to really take notice of. Also the Kid is the son of a coach always big, cause he grew up around the game.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by wiikidd11 11 months ago
If you want to make the case that you want a passer then runner. This is your guy, not Barker. This guy is even with Harris, for me. Kids got a good arm. Mobile. Not the shiftiest, but then again not everyone can be Brax. I was sold after the play where it looked like he underhanded the ball to the receiver at the goal line. This kid makes plays against Florida talent.
This post was edited by dkerns 11 months ago
Darlington is the guy I want. If not Darlington, I'd be excited with Allen. If it's Harris, I'll be pretty disappointed. Why would you have Harris tied with this guy? Darlington is years ahead in the passing game. In the running game, not only is Darlington much faster, but he's also more aggressive and smarter while carrying the ball. Therefore, Darlington is also a much better runner. Darlington is the complete package. I actually believe he could end up being better than Watson at the collegiate level. This guy has a three star rating, but so did Johnny Manziel coming out of high school.
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