You took a significant leadership role on campus, both on the field and off, this year. What was that experience like and what have you learned?
My leadership experiences over the past year and beyond have absolutely transformed my perspective and molded me into the man I am today. My leadership experiences utterly transcend my athletic exploits, which have been exhilarating and plentiful. I have participated in a variety of arenas, from on-field leadership of a team that was counted out from the start, to representing student-athletes everywhere on a national stage at the NCAA Convention, to working at different levels of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee to improve the student-athlete experience, to being blessed with the opportunity to lead the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and share my faith around the state. From each of these experiences, I learned something different. Most importantly, I learned to value people and their diverse perspectives. People are what make it worth it.
Videos of coaches dancing after big wins became popular this season. In a dance-off between Coach Stoops and Baker Mayfield, presumably the team’s top dancer, who would win and why?
This is a trick question. Most people would immediately say Baker, and justifiably so. But to fully understand the complexity of the question, one must have an intricate knowledge of dance battle scoring procedures. Most dance battles, at least the ones in our lockerroom, are determined by crowd reaction. This is what gives Coach Stoops a chance. Great things are expected of Baker, which means that it will much harder for him to win a crowd reaction because of his reputed dancing prowess. Coach Stoops, on the other hand, doesn’t have to do much. Anything that he does that even resembles a dance move will be met with a roar. If he even attempts to Dab or hit the Whip, it’s game over. For that reason, I gotta go with Big Game Bob.
Did you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
I wouldn’t exactly call it a ritual, but Trevor Knight and I meet in the southeast corner of the endzone at the same point of every pregame. We did this every game for four years. It will be one of my greatest memories years from now. Additionally, this past year the entire team brought it up shortly before it was time to take the field and jumped around to the Meek Mill song “Dreams and Nightmares.” It seems like such a silly thing, but every time I hear that song from now on, I will think about those pregame hype sessions.
Your teammates nicknamed you “The Honorable Ty Darlington” and “Senator.” What’s up with that?
Coach Riley first dubbed me “Senator Darlington” or “The Good Senator.” At the time, I had just returned from a trip to Washington D.C. representing Big 12 student-athletes at the NCAA Convention and was set to return to D.C. in April for a forum on the State of College Athletics. So from there on, the politician references have been plenty and often. As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I have no intention of becoming an actual politician.
What’s next for Ty Darlington?
In my immediate future, I will be training for the NFL draft while completing my Master’s degree here in Norman. It’s been a dream to play in the NFL, so I will pursue that as long as I can. Whenever my playing career is over, I intend to pursue a career as a college football coach. At some point, I would be interested in transitioning into the administrative side of things, but my love for the game and my desire to form personal relationships with players has directed me towards coaching for now.