Last spring, Scout.com profiled the story of Jordan Darling moving to Texas to be near his mother, Major Leslie Darling, as she prepared to deploy to Afghanistan.
Darling's parents had made arrangements for their son to stay in Ohio and finish school with his teammates, but the young quarterback would have none of it. He moved to Waco (Midway High School) with the family, preferring to spend every day he could with his mother.
Major Darling, still in Afghanistan, is now Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Darling, and along with promotions in the military often comes new positions or assignments. Lieutenant Colonel Darling has been reassigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the younger Darling plans on attending Shawnee Mission East High, in Prairie Village, Kansas in the near future.
This will be Darling’s fourth different high school and state in the last three years.
“We are a military family and that means constant change," Bill Darling, the player's father stated. "I don’t know anyone who could do what Jordan is doing. He is remarkable. Moving is difficult enough, but being a high school quarterback and all that comes with it, makes it even harder. Jordan has shown the character football coaches are always talking about. He doesn’t complain, but just keeps on going, like his mother. I admire them both.”
“She recently ran 100 miles in a 33-hour time period without sleep to raise money for the Wounded Warriors program," the elder Darling added. "She has been there to hold the hands of soldiers a few years older than Jordan, waking up disoriented in a military hospital, and wondering why they can’t feel an arm or leg that is now gone. It’s heartbreaking, and really helps our family appreciate how fortunate we are.”
Facing new challenges Darling thinks of the late Joe Daniels, former Ohio State quarterback coach, and words of advice the former coach gave to him.
“Jordan, there will be times in football when no one believes in you and you have to believe in yourself," Daniels told Darling. "This may even happen several times in your career, and I've seen it happen to every quarterback I have ever worked with. It will happen to you. I believe in you. Just keep working hard, and one day you’ll go far.”
(Darling with Joe Daniels)
Darling took Daniels' advice to heart, and draws on his words for encouragement.
“I ask my mom how she ran 100 miles like she did," Jordan Darling noted. "At times someone would run with her and encourage her, and other times she would run alone, one step at a time and pray a lot. I think my mom and Coach Daniels weren’t just talking about running or football, but they were talking about life.”
Jordan had the opportunity to see his mom for two weeks over the Christmas break, and although the reunion came after a tough loss, it was just what the quarterback needed.
“We just lost the Texas state championship, and out of nowhere she was there," he admitted, with his voice choked with emotion. "It was the first time in over seven months we had seen each other. We hugged, cried and laughed. Moms know just what to say when you’ll feeling down.”
“Right now my mom is working literally two blocks from where all the protesting is going on at Bagram Airbase (Afghanistan)," Darling stressed. "People are yelling they want Americans to die. You read about Americans doing the wrong thing over there, but many are trying to do the right thing, and my mom is one of them. I am praying for her, and all of our soldiers still there on a daily basis.”
Darling was able to share with his mother some great news. He recently received his first offer, from Kansas head coach Charlie Weis.
“Yesterday was one of the best days of my life," the quarterback admitted. "Coach Weis let me know he wanted me to be his future Kansas quarterback. Coach Weis must think the only word I know is thank you. I kept saying it over and over. They have one of the best coaching staffs in the country at any level, and (quarterbacks coach) Ron Powlus
is definitely someone who has been where I want to go.
“I know there are many hard working high school quarterbacks and football players out there with talent that may not have an offer for one reason or another. I wish they all could feel what I felt yesterday. I thank God so much for how fortunate I am.”
Darling has the interest of several other programs at the moment and is taking his time with his recruitment. It sounds like this Ohio, Texas, and soon to be Kansas high school quarterback has finally found a place he can call home, now that he is heading to Kansas.
“My dad and I could be in Ohio, Texas or Kansas, and if my mom and our dog Luna are there, that’s home,” Jordan stated emphatically.