It takes time. That’s the thought you may have when you examine the Miami career of OL Trevor Darling. Recruited by USF, Florida State and West Virginia, Darling had his choice of destinations to choose from as a four-star prospect from Miami Central High School. Recruited by Michael Barrow and former offensive line coach Art Kehoe, Darling committed to the U while only a junior in high school in 2012, finally enrolling at the university in Jan 2014.
Earning playing time as a true freshman, Darling played in eight games, starting in five of those games in his first season. The freshman spent some time at right tackle, dipping his toes in the waters of collegiate football by starting out on the strong side of the offensive formation. His first career start came against North Carolina that season and also made a start in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl at the end of the season. Darling showed his talent in just his first season with the ‘Canes and forecasted a promising sophomore season.
As projected, Darling made the leap from reserve lineman to starting left tackle as a sophomore in 2015. Darling was a member of an offensive unit that produced a 1,000 yard rusher in RB Joseph Yearby and he blocked along a line that scored 20 rushing touchdowns. Miami passed for an average of 277.4 yards per game—good enough to place them 29th in the nation in the category. Add in the fact that Miami’s offense scored an average of 27.8 points-per-game, one has to tip their cap at the offensive line as a whole, and Trevor Darling was a shining beacon among the group.
College life can be one of trials and tribulation. While it appeared that Darling had a firm grasp on the job at left tackle, there were murmurs that Darling was not cut out to protect the blindside of QB Brad Kaaya. Darling continued to make starts at the position and play in 11 of 13 games that season, with nine starts at left tackle. Darling missed a few games during his junior season with a knee injury. For a second consecutive season, the ‘Canes produced a 1,000 yard rusher in Mark Walton. The offensive line allowed just 25 sacks in 2016 and blocked for an offense that passed for an average of 274 yard per game to rank fifth in the ACC.
Despite the positives from his first season in the Mark Richt era, change was coming for the offensive line and Trevor Darling. Moved to left guard, Darling was now expected to put his hand on the ground as opposed to his hip, responsible for dealing with defensive tackles and blitzers up the middle in pass protection. Embracing this new position, Darling has done well in his lone season at guard. In his final season, Darling is among the top percentile in passing efficiency among draft eligible guards according to Pro Football Focus. Among his 327 pass blocking snaps, Darling has allowed two sack, four QB hits, three QB hurries for a pass blocking efficiency rate of 97.8 according to PFF’s metrics. Miami ranks third in the ACC in yards per carry (5.40) and third in the conference in sacks allowed with just 15 so far in 2017. In his senior year at Miami, Darling has been not just an exemplary player on the offensive line, but perhaps a better teammate for doing what is best for the the team in 2017.
State of the U salutes Trevor Darling and the rest of Miami’s 2017 senior class.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!