By Dillon Stanley
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Student-athletes across the nation have arguably some of the most demanding workdays of anyone. Attending class, going to practice, watching film and studying for their 12 or more hours of college classes is a steep challenge for anyone to attempt to complete.
Ty Darlington is one Sooner student-athlete who has taken on that challenge while also making an impact with the multiple organizations in which he is involved.
Darlington, a junior center for the Oklahoma football team, will be graduating early with his degree in the arts and science-planned program in December. Darlington, who maintains a 3.96 GPA, had never made a ‘B’ in his life until last semester.
“Yeah last semester, one semester from graduating, I dropped the ball. One point higher on the final and I keep my 4.0,” Darlington joked.
Following his early graduation in December, Darlington will begin his pursuit of earning a Master’s of Education in Adult and Higher Education with an emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.
With the numerous hours required, one of the best skills a student-athlete or any student can have is time management. To Darlington, this has been a key skill for him since early in high school, and especially now.
“It is all about time management,” he stated. “Just in addition to the mandatory time that we have to spend in football, we also put in a lot of other time on our own studying game film. It is all about managing your time.”
Through the end of the 2014 regular season, Darlington had appeared in 24 career games for the Sooners. He had started at center in 13 of those contests, including all 12 games this season.
Darlington’s success is something that began in high school in his hometown of Apopka, Fla. He maintained a 5.1 weighted GPA throughout high school. He scored an impressive 33 on his ACT, as well as a 2060 on the SAT. He was also chosen to be his senior class valedictorian at Apopka High School.
“From high school on I took every AP class that was offered,” he explained. “My parents really instilled it in me from a young age to master whatever I was doing, whether it was football or your class work. They just wanted me to do whatever I could to be the best at what I was doing.”
For Darlington, along with his parents’ guidance, his faith is something that has kept him on track to manage the daily challenges of being a student-athlete at a top-tier university.
“I think for me something that has always helped me with whatever I am doing is the verse Colossians 3:23,” Darlington shared. “It says, ‘Whatever you do; work at it with all of your heart.’ That is something that is the verse of my life. It hangs above my door in my room; it is written on my wrist during each game. That verse has been my theme all through life. That whatever I am doing, not just on the field, but if I am going to do something, just to do it to the best of my ability.”
Along with his success on the field and in the classroom, Darlington is heavily involved in organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and he also serves as Oklahoma’s Big 12 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory President.
Darlington's most recent achievement came when he earned a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America First Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) earlier in the month of December.
“Football is something that is extremely important to me,” Darlington said. “But I realize that taking care of my work in the classroom is what matters first."