The Gold Curtain? Seguin High School's Tyrone Darling has joined fellow linebackers Wardell Crutchfield III, and Brandon Durant as members of UTEP's 2011 class. Horace Miller, formerly an OLB at Louisville, will also be eligible in 2011. Yes, another linebacker. One things clear, Mike Price and Andre Patterson have obviously identified linebacker as a need area for the defense which makes sense since UTEP's defense will be anchored by so many veterans in 2010. The coaches have been aggressive in adding youth, and speed, to the position.
Darling was a second team All District 8-4A selection at linebacker for Seguin. Once again, Miner Illustrated (Rivals who?) was first to report the Darling commitment; and again, it looks like former UTEP star Robert Rodriguez was instrumental in the signing. Darling told MI:
.“He (Rodriguez) recruited me a lot and coach (Mike) Price came to our practices a couple of times,” Darling said. “I talked to both of them and would love to play there (UTEP).”
Darling appears to be something of an unknown quantity. Rivals has absolutely no information on him, not a page, not a stat, nothing. The article is vague on specifics, as well, only noting that Darling is a bit undersized at 5'10 and 200 pounds. Scout has very little to offer, save the following paragraph, but their site gives the reader no real idea as to when they scouted him and doesn't offer any measurables. He's definitely the most unpublicized of UTEP's class members so far. It's very possible that the coaches saw him at a camp, and grabbed him before anyone else took notice. Here's what Scout said:
Tends to be Jekyl and Hyde type of linebacker. At times he is aggressive and charges and blows up plays. Other times he is tentative and indecisive. He makes a lot of plays but when he is indecisive it is after a pickup of several yards. When he plays hard he makes tackles in the backfield. Really can hit hard when he attacks.
Clearly, coach Rodriguez identified a kid who has somehow evaded the national recruiting radar. A diamond in the rough? Only time will tell.
Also, I love to hear a kid talk like this. When asked what he needed to improve on, Darling responded:
“I just need to improve overall, really,” Darling said.
Good answer. It's refreshing to hear an athlete who just accepted a D-1 offer sound humble. Still, I wish I could find more information on him. As more information on Darling becomes available, I'll be sure to update you all.
That aside, UTEP's updated class looks like this: Linebackers 4, Everything Else 2 (including Miller). Each of the linebackers have mentioned Robert Rodriguez as one of the main reasons they signed with UTEP. If Coach Rod was Mike Price's secret recruiting weapon, it looks like he's now lost his cover.