It was a big weekend for Orlando area athletes at the Schuman's National Underclassmen Combine at Jones High. Over the course of two days, Orlando participants took home numerous awards, and one of the most dominant was Apopka offensive tackle Ty Darlington.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder was a monster, especially in the head-to-head battles with the camp's top defensive lineman, James Gelsey of Camden County (Ga.) High.
The pair had some epic battles in the final 1-on-1s and the verdict turned out to be both players earning Top Lineman awards at the end.
Darlington earned the Strongest Man (23 bench-press reps at 185 pounds) award for the 2012 class, for which the camp was held on Saturday. Classes of 2013 and 2014 took part Saturday morning, while the seniors to be in the Class of 2011 ended the combine with a Sunday session.
"It was a good experience just to come out here and compete mostly," Darlington said. "When it gets down to the 1-on-1s, that's what I like the best come out and compete and see how I can hang."
Darlington was quite dominant most of the time, but Gelsey and a few other players would slip through once in a awhile.
"It's good to go against some good competition," he said. "There were several guys who were real quick and some were strong and it's great to go against guys who can challenge me and make me better.
"They had some quick, small guys out there and they were going hard. Sometimes they were beating me."
Darlington said he was able to pick up a few things he needs to work on, but the big fella, who is Apopka Coach Rick Darlington's son, is certainly one of the best offenisve linemen in the state -- if not the best -- coming out of the 2012 class.
"I did pretty well, but there were still some guys that got me a couple of times," he said. "So I gotta go back and practice some more and fix it so it doesn't happen again."
He's a football gym rat, if there is such a thing, always working to be the best he can be. His teammates certainly appreciate it. Apopka running back Tom Smith appreciated it last year to the tune of 1,163 regular-season yards and a Central Florida-best 21 touchdowns.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times