Finally, Jordan Darling can settle in for a while.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Darling, a Shawnee Mission East senior, is one of the most heralded quarterbacks in the class of 2013 in Kansas, but he’s hardly spent any time in the state.
As a freshman, he played at Platte County before spending his sophomore season at Lakota West in West Chester, Ohio.
Darling wound up at Midway in Waco, Texas, as a junior — helping lead the Panthers to the Texas 5A state championship game.
Eventually, he looped back to metropolitan Kansas City when his mother, Lt. Col. Leslie Darling, was transferred to Fort Leavenworth.
With the stroke of pen Wednesday, Darling — who threw and rushed for touchdowns in all four states over his nomadic high school career — cemented a place in Lawrence for the foreseeable future, signing to play football at Kansas.
“One of the reasons I picked KU was because I wanted some stability as far as where my home is the next four or five years,” Darling said.
Darling, who led the Lancers to seven wins and a playoff appearance last fall, insists that he didn’t mind moving around as much as he did, but he also won’t mind staying in one place for a while either.
He wasn’t the only quarterback the Jayhawks signed from Kansas City.
Bishop Miege senior Montell Cozart, who led the Stags to the Kansas Class 5A title game, also signed with Kansas.
He said reuniting with former Miege coach Tim Grunhard was a big reason he chose the Jayhawks.
Cozart also welcomes the competition from Darling.
“We both want the same thing,” Cozart said. “We’re competitive guys, but at the end of the day we’re going to push each other to get better. I don’t mind the competition.”
Basehor-Linwood senior tight end Ben Johnson also signed with Kansas.
Signing isa family affair
Gardner Edgerton seniors Matt and Danie Plank are siblings, but they might as well be. Ask them who is the family’s best athlete and the bickering is priceless.
“We grew up together,” Matt said. “I never really had a brother or sister, but she was always around with her older brother, Bryan, so we hung out a lot.”
That made Wednesday’s morning ceremony, where Matt signed to play football at North Dakota State and Danie signed to throw the javelin at Kansas State, something of a family affair for the Planks.
“It’s really cool for our family,” Danie said. “Everyone could be there the same day. We grew up together and always cheered for each other, so it was special.”
Rhodes headed to MU
Blue Valley tackle Clay Rhodes officially signed with Missouri at an afternoon ceremony, but he already has had his welcome-to-the-Southeastern-Conference moment.
“It really sunk in when I watched the South Carolina bowl game against Michigan and I saw that hit Jadeveon Clowney had (when he knocked running back Vincent Smith’s helmet off),” Rhodes said. “I suddenly realized I’ll have to block guys like that. That pushed me through my workouts and offseason training.”
Rhodes is part of an important class for the Tigers, who struggled in their first season in the nation’s toughest football conference.
Improving an offensive line that was decimated by injury and saddled with inexperience will be key to Mizzou’s hopes for a stronger showing in 2013.
Donahue joins K-State
Colton Donahue didn’t grow up dreaming of running for Kansas State.
He’s not much of a college sports fan, he said, but the Blue Valley senior — and Kansas Class 5A state cross country champion — was thrilled Wednesday to join Wildcat Nation.
“It takes great runners to make a great team, and I think K-State is on the rise,” Donahue said. “I feel like I’m the best boys runner in Kansas right now, and K-State is trying to build its team. It’s a perfect fit, so I’m excited.”
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.