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SM East’s Darling hopes to settle in at Kansas

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at 11:24 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at 11:48 p.m.

— For four years, he’s lived the life of a state-hopping Army brat. A year in Ohio. Another in the heart of Texas. And lastly, a stop just south of Kansas City.

For Jordan Darling, a senior quarterback at Shawnee Mission East, the usual high-school stress seems a little trivial when you’re dealing with three new schools in three years or thinking about a mother on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Maybe that’s why signing day will have a little added significance. Darling, who will sign with Kansas Wednesday in an afternoon ceremony, isn’t just realizing a dream of playing Big 12 football. He’s also signing up for a little peace of mind. If all goes well, he’ll be in Lawrence for the next four or five years. Finally, no more moving.

“I’ve learned life isn’t always fair or easy at times.” Darling said this week. “(But) most of us have so much to be thankful for and little to complain about when you look at the problems of other people.”

Darling committed to Kansas last summer, just a short time after his mother, Lt. Col. Leslie Darling, had finished a tour in Afghanistan. Leslie was reassigned as the executive officer to the deputy commanding general at Fort Leavenworth, and Jordan finished out his career at SM East, where he joined rare company by throwing for 1,000 yards in three states.

KU coach Charlie Weis wanted to build his latest recruiting class around talented junior college players and high school kids that wanted to be at Kansas. He found those attributes in Darling, who will join a 24-man class that includes nine junior college players that signed in December.

“Coach Weis has told me everything is earned at KU, and nothing will be given to any player.” Darling said. “My family trusts him.”

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