Jack Darnell Q&A
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For people not familiar with Champlin Park high school, tell them what level of football it is, how successful have you guys been and how many other seniors signed to play in college for next year?
We play 6A football in the northwest suburban conference and over the past 4 years we’ve had our ups and downs. We made it to the section final in 2 of those years and lost to Wayzata both times. We had 7 players sign to play football which was cool to see because it had been our dream to play in college ever since we started playing together.
What other sports did you play in high school and are your participating in any of them your senior year?
I played varsity basketball and threw shot put and discuss for track but I think during this spring I’m just going to focus on getting back to 100% for the season.
You played anywhere from MLB to DE to DL in high school but from my understanding NDSU wants you at DL. Is this a position you like to play and why do you think DL is the spot NDSU coaches think you will be the most successful? I love playing on the d-line. I’ve been playing it my whole life. There’s nothing better than being able to hit someone on every down. But my ability to be a big aggressive guy that can move is why I think the coaches think I’ll be able to succeed at the d-tackle spot.
We talked at NDSU summer camp and you said you attended other camps like Iowa State, Wisconsin and Nebraska and planned to attend Minnesota plus some other FCS schools. How was the NDSU camp compared to some of those other camps?
The coaches always put on a tough competitive camp. With there being so many kids at the camp each year the competition is never in question. Also there was a ton of time for 1 on 1’s which is a big reason why I think so many kids come out. The camp is just as good, if not better than any FBS camp I went to.
When did you first hear of NDSU football and when did coaches start recruiting you?
I first heard of them when I went to the summer camp my sophomore year with a bunch of my teammates. After watching the Bison beat k-state on TV and building a relationship with Coach Polasek I knew it was a special place to be. The coaches started recruiting me pretty hard after my junior year.
You picked up your first DI offer from NDSU after attending camp. What was that feeling like to have your first DI offer from the 3 time defending champs?
It was really an indescribable feeling. I had been working so hard for a scholarship and when It actually happened I was at a loss for words. And on top of that being from the 3 time national champions and a program with so much respect was a great honor.
You also received offers from SDSU, Army and Montana. Did any of these schools have some appeal to you and what was the selling point from them to get you to accept their offers?
Montana and Army didn’t have very much appeal to me because they were so far from home and my family really wouldn’t get a chance to watch me play a lot. In the end it came down to either SDSU or NDSU. SDSU had a great coaching staff and a new facility on the way but in the end the program just couldn’t compare to the Bison.
About a month after you picked up the NDSU offer your verbally committed to the Bison. This was around the same time many other verbals happened and a lot from the state of Minnesota. Why did you decide to commit so early and did the fact other verbals were committing to NDSU help you in your decision?
I took a visit in late July and by the end of the day I knew I didn’t want to go to college anywhere else. It just felt right. Also The coaches were honest with me from the beginning of the process and I have a lot of respect for them for doing that. The other verbals didn’t have much of an impact at the time but I’m glad to be apart of this group of guys.
Your official visit was with 6 other Minnesota players in January. Tell us about your visit, what did you enjoy the most and who was your host?
All of us commits had been talking for awhile so when the official came around we were pretty comfortable with each other and it was a fun weekend. Grant Morgan was my host and he made me feel right at home.
NDSU’s defensive coordinator is Matt Entz and he is also the primary recruiter for the Twin Cities area. Tell us about coach Entz and what was his recruiting style when pitching NDSU to you?
Coach Entz was the most honest coach with me from the start. He told me he needed to see me in camp before I would be able to get an offer and that’s exactly what happened. He’s a man of his word and cares for his players beyond the football field.
Has Coach Entz talked to you about the possibility of playing next year and do you have a preference on whether you redshirt or not?
It depends on how the summer and fall camp goes. If I can prove myself and can get my leg up to 100% coach Goeser said I’ll maybe have a shot at playing.
What is NDSU’s reputation around the Twin Cities and when you tell people you are going to NDSU do you ever have to explain why you picked them or inform them about NDSU’s tradition?
They are very well respected. Everyone knows about the Bison especially in the Twin Cities. No one has ever questioned my decision and I don’t know if anyone will.
Who did you watch the national championship game with? Also describe your emotions when they went ahead late in the 4th quarter.
I was at a basketball game watching it on my phone and to see them win a 4th in a row they way they did was pretty amazing. It made me more excited to get up there this summer
You had an injury your senior year, what was the injury and how close are you to 100% at this point?
I broke my leg and had some ligament damage in my ankle, and I’m around 70-80% right now. The recovery is a long process but I’ll be ready to go for the season
What were the most important factors you were looking for in a school?
A place where I felt the most comfortable and where I could be successful on and off the field.
Anything about Fargo or NDSU that surprised you on any of your visits?
How amazing all the people are and the game day atmosphere is like no other in the country. Some of the best fans in the nation.
Do you know who your roommate will be next year?
What jersey number(s) would you like to wear?
Anywhere in the 90s would be sweet
What do you plan to major in?
NDSU Coach Chris Klieman talking about Jack Darnell on signing day