This past weekend, Apopka (Fla.) junior offensive lineman Ty Darlington traveled to Oklahoma to watch the Sooners destroy Iowa State 52-0. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound offensive lineman came away with nothing but positive thoughts from his time spent in Norman.
"It was very impressive," Darlington said. "They treated me awesome. From when I got there, they were very nice to me. I got a chance to talk with the coaches and get to know them a little better. It was just a great experience to see the atmosphere there on gameday and all of the fans. The atmosphere at game time was great. They were really rolling, they beat Iowa State pretty bad. They were definitely impressive."
Bob Stoops' program is very familiar to Darlington. Despite living in the Sunshine State, he has a lot of ties to the Sooners.
"Basically my entire extended family lives out there besides one or two people they all live in the Norman area and Oklahoma City," Darlington said. "My mom is from up there. She was a cheerleader at Oklahoma in the late '80's."
While the family ties are significant, Darlington said he is approaching his recruitment with an open mind and won't push anybody out that is interested in him.
"The family ties with Oklahoma is definitely a factor because I have been an Oklahoma fan most of my life," Darlington said. "But I don't want to name leaders or anything right now because I feel it is too early for that. As of right now, I am still trying to feel out who is really interested and try not to limit myself by naming just a couple of schools."
A lot of schools are interested in him, with 14 offers already extended. His offer list consists of Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, Colorado State, Duke, Florida State, Iowa, Louisville, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Utah, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. Florida and Georgia are amongst the other schools showing interest.
Previously Darlington has visited a few campuses and been in contact with a few of those schools. He shared his thoughts on a handful of the schools pursuing his services.
"I like Auburn because I got a chance to go up there during the summer and have a visit," Darlington said. "I went to camp there. They are definitely really impressive right now. I am hoping to get to go up to a game up there at some point."
"I like Florida State," Darlington said. "I haven't gotten a chance to go up there for a game but I have talked with Coach (Rick) Trickett a little bit, their offensive line coach, and they have been playing pretty well. I like how their offensive line plays."
"Iowa, I went up there during the summer," Darlington said. "I got to meet some of their coaches and be around the program for a day or so."
"I have talked with some people at Virginia Tech," Darlington said. "They seem to like me and I like them."
As for his eventual decision, at this point he is working with a loose timeline for when he may announce.
"I don't think I will go to February (of my senior year)," Darlington said. "I think I will definitely try to make a decision by the beginning of my next year of school, the beginning of my senior year. I could do it before that, it just depends on how I feel. I definitely don't feel I am ready to do that yet. It is still pretty early for me. I want to give every school a good look."
While recruiting is hot and heavy for Darlington, his focus is on leading the Blue Darters to a state championship.
"It is going pretty good so far," Darlington said of his junior season. "We are 5-1 so far but we have a couple big games coming up that will really make or break our season. So it is a big two weeks coming up for us."
Darlington plans to take a number of visits after his junior season to see more schools.