Sunday, January 10, 2010

Darrah arrives at JSU

Thomas Darrah was settling into his apartment Sunday, watching a little basketball – not uncommon for a guy pushing 6-foot-7 -- and getting ready to start the next chapter of his college football career that begins this week.

The former Alabama quarterback, on the sidelines Thursday night for the Tide’s national championship victory over Texas, is fully entrenched at Jacksonville State. He starts classes and workouts Monday and is looking forward to spring practice, which coach Jack Crowe plans to open the first week of March.

“I can’t wait, I’m really excited about it,” Darrah said. “I’ve got a lot of bags and stuff hanging around. I’ve got to unpack some stuff, but most of it’s here. Now it’s a matter of straightening it all out.”

He has ambitious plans for the two years of eligibility he has remaining. He’d like to put an FCS national championship ring alongside the BCS championship ring he won Thursday night in Pasadena, and he’d like to graduate from JSU with a double major – general health studies that he began at Alabama and criminal justice. He's taking 15 hours this semester and is about 12 hours shy of completing his first major.

Interestingly, the Newnan, Ga., product is the third player in as many years to join the Gamecocks after playing for the previous season's national champions, joining Ryan Perrilloux (LSU) and Torrey Davis (Florida).

“I think it’s pretty special that all of them decided to come here,” Darrah said. “That speaks a lot about the whole university here and Coach Crowe. That’s pretty neat, and hopefully, once they get all these guys transferring in, people will start turning their heads and (saying) maybe we should start checking this out.”

Darrah will be one of three quarterbacks that Gamecocks will have in camp this spring, joining Marquez Ivory and Brooks Robinson. The Gamecocks also received a verbal commitment from Cherokee County senior Coty Blanchard on Friday and he’s expected to join the team in the fall.

Crowe made it clear Ivory enters camp as the starter; he has spent the last two years as Perrilloux’s understudy. Robinson, meanwhile, could find himself at another position as he’s proven to be helpful enough to be an every-down player. Blanchard, when he arrives, could be redshirted.

“Marquez has played in a lot of games and has given no indication he has a problem handling the job,” Crowe said. “I think it’ll be a competitive situation … but there is definitely a depth chart.”