Monday, October 3, 2016
A Bo Schembechler Story Part 7
Thom Darden bonded with Reggie McKenzie and other African-Americans from his recruitment class. Others recruited were Mike Keller, Jim Brandstatter, Frank Gusich, Bruce Elliott, and Leon Hart Junior among others. At the beginning, the athletic and competitive Thom thought “I’m scared to death. How can I compete with these guys? I’m from a small community, not the big city.” Soon after arriving at that first practice, the players were in T-shirts, shorts and helmets. They started doing drills. Soon, Thom played on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver and in the defensive backfield. It became crystal clear to him that in the drills, he was able to keep up with all his teammates. Not only that, he could become a leader, his hands were good and he had solid football knowledge. His football fundamentals were good and he began to feel more at ease. Before long, he gained his self-confidence. Sometime later on, his freshman squad scrimmaged against the second team varsity. And they held their own. In fact, one time, Thom, as a defensive back, stuffed the running back at the line of scrimmage-and it was on that one play that Thom, began to believe, I belong.