OL Trevor Darling | Senior | 6’4 300 Lbs.
Before Navaughn Donaldson, there was Trevor Darling. Darling was a star offensive lineman at Miami Central in the Class of 2014, opening holes for the insanely talented backfield duo of Joe Yearby and Dalvin Cook. A powerful tackle prospect with size and mobility, Darling was considered a top 100 recruit in the nation (#94 overall to be exact) and was invited to play in the Under Armour All-American game.
Growing up in South Florida, Darling always felt a pull to the tradition and prestige that the University of Miami offered. So it was no surprise when he ended his recruitment in his sophomore year and pledged to the Hurricanes and Al Golden nearly 2 years before his signing day. Darling was the first commit in Miami’s class and, despite offers from programs like FSU, Clemson, and West Virginia, he never wavered and stuck to his guns.
So far at Miami
As a freshman in 2014, Darling came into the program playing the Robin to KC McDermott’s Batman, as both were highly touted recruits that were physically ready to play right away. However, Darling found himself behind a very good returning Miami O-Line. With all this experience in front of him, it would have been easy for Darling to take a redshirt, despite him having the requisite size to compete on the college level. That would not be the case though, as Darling’s talent level was too much to keep off the field; he played in a key reserve role and then started 5 games at right tackle when Taylor Gadbois went down.
In the ensuing offseason, the Canes saw Ereck Flowers declare for the NFL Draft a year early, leaving behind a 6’6 325 pound-sized hole at left tackle in his wake. With little returning experience on the line in 2015, Darling was one of the candidates vying to replace Flowers at LT and was sure to end up starting somewhere. Darling beat out KC McDermott and others for the job and started all 13 games for the Canes at left tackle, but it was a rough year overall for the O-Line and Darling had his struggles as well.
Darling was a returning starter at left tackle in 2016 and started the first 9 games at left tackle, before missing 2 games with knee injury. By the time he was ready to come back, though, the line had so much cohesion with McDermott at LT and performed so much better in his absence that he was relegated to a backup guard/tackle swingman role for the remainder of the season. He would come off the bench in the regular season finale against Duke and the bowl game against West Virginia.
2017 and Beyond
The end of the 2016 season was a strange one for Darling, but despite McDermott flourishing at left tackle, the coaches decided to have open season on the left tackle job in the spring, with McDermott, Darling, and George Brown the primary contenders in the competition. Darling would have a rough spring though, constantly being told by coaches that he needed to step up. By the second practice, McDermott took hold of the LT position and never looked back, relegating Darling to starting left guard.
To keep his job at left guard in the fall though, Darling would have to stave off a returning Nick Linder, who sat out the spring with a shoulder injury. And Darling would do just that, kicking up his play a notch and sending Linder off on the transfer bus, one way ticket.
Said offensive coordinator Thomas Brown on Darling’s development: “I think Trevor Darling has done some really nice things so far, just from a fundamental standpoint.”
Darling is a senior now, and although he’s had his inconsistencies, it’s up to him and McDermott to lead a young line with little depth. Even though he’s never started at guard in his career, his shorter arm length makes him more an ideal fit for guard than tackle. For his part, Darling has seen it all and the adversity he’s faced in his career has taught Darling to be ready for whatever comes his way.