Quarterback Jordan Darling (Shawnee Mission, Kan./Shawnee Mission East) has been a Kansas lean for quite some time now. On Monday, the 6-foot-4, 227-pound signal-caller gave the Jayhawks his verbal commitment – and he was able to do so with both parents in attendance.
For several weeks, Darling has said he didn’t want to make his pledge to the Jayhawks official unless both parents, Bill and Leslie, were there with him. Leslie is a lieutenant colonel in the Army and has been stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, since spending more than a year in Afghanistan.
When Leslie decided to meet the family in Norman, Okla., to watch Jordan compete in the Oklahoma camp on Sunday, she decided to make the trip to Kansas. On Monday, Jordan – with both parents on hand – made the 40-minute trip from Shawnee Mission to Lawrence, Kan., and gave head coach Charlie Weis his verbal commitment.
“It was a family decision for us, and when I knew my mom would be here, we really said, ‘Why put it off anymore?’” Darling said. “It all felt right and comfortable; it just kind of clicked.”
Darling was recruited by quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus, who played quarterback at Notre Dame in the 1990s. Darling chose Kansas over an offer from Kansas State, as well as interest from Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Indiana. He turned heads at the Oklahoma camp with his strong arm and accuracy.
“My family and I prayed about it, and mainly, it was the coaches there that made me want to commit,” Darling said. “Coach Weis is known for his quarterbacks, and Coach Powlus has done it at the high school and college levels. I really believe the system they’re going to run fits me like a glove. That was the main thing that won us over, and we just felt right as a family.
“It came down to Kansas and Kansas State. I was really honored and humbled that Kansas State wanted me to play for them, and they’re all great coaches there. I just felt Kansas’ offense fitted more toward my own style of offense.”
Darling is a pro-style quarterback, and he will play in Kansas’ pro-style package, versus a Kansas State offense that thrived last season off a dual-threat quarterback in Collin Klein. Darling moved to Kansas earlier this year from Waco, Texas, where he was a starter at Midway High School.
Darling threw for 1,820 yards and 16 touchdowns and led Midway to a 13-3 record and a trip to the Texas Class 4A Division I championship game. Midway lost to eventual five-time defending champion Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) in the finals.
Darling became the fourth commitment of the Kansas 2013 recruiting class. He’s the Jayhawks’ first commit since outside linebacker Kellen Ash (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South), who gave his verbal pledge on April 16.