Zack Darlington is one of the top quarterback recruits in Florida. He stars at quarterback for the state champion Apopka (Fla.) High School. Darlington stands 6'2, and weighs in at 207 pounds. He is rated as a three-star recruit by 247, Rivals, and Scout, and is not yet rated by ESPN. As of the beginning of April, Darlington has offers from Arizona, Boston College, Minnesota, N.C. State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia.
Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst: Darlington is a football player who outshines his measureables. Here is some film to check out.
Darlington is very athletic. I've seen him described as a pocket-passer or a pro-style quarterback (perhaps because he is white), and I simply do not agree. While he can pass, not taking advantage of his legs would be a mistake. Darlington is quick, agile, has good speed, and runs with good balance and instincts.
In fact, his balance also helps him in the passing game. Darlington is not all that tall, and he has to find throwing lanes. This will be even more important at the college level. Luckily, Darlington is able to slide in the pocket quite well and keep his balance to deliver an accurate ball at angles where other quarterbacks might struggle to stay on balance. He also throws well on the run.
Perhaps the only thing I'm unsure about with Darlington is his ability to operate as a traditional pocket passer. Most of Darlington's passes come via play action. And while he does quickly diagnose and deliver the football accurately off of play action, it's not exactly the same as a traditional drop back.
He shows an acceptable arm, but isn't asked to throw a lot of passes with a high degree of difficulty.
Darlington is a smart, tough player, and the son of a coach. That doesn't guarantee success, but growing up around the game probably can't hurt. Darlington reminds me a bit of a more controlled Taylor Martinez. If used in the right way, he can be very successful.
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