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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mr. Electric

Safety known for vibrant personality

Sophomore Darrell Stuckey maneuvers past Nebraska's Marion Lucky during the Jayhawks' 76-39 victory over the Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium.

Sophomore Darrell Stuckey maneuvers past Nebraska's Marion Lucky during the Jayhawks' 76-39 victory over the Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium.

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Sophomore Darrell Stuckey maneuvers past Nebraska's Marion Lucky during the Jayhawks' 76-39 victory over the Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium.

KU meeting with Virginia Tech first in school history

Kansas first fielded a football team in 1890 - but not once in 117 years have the Jayhawks played against Virginia Tech. At least not until January 3rd.

Kansas University football safety Darrell Stuckey's persona best can be summed up by a story told by teammate James McClinton.

"I remember one time we were doing a Relay For Life," McClinton said of the event held annually at Memorial Stadium that raises money for the American Cancer Society. "You spend the whole night out there walking around the track, and he was on my team. He came in being Darrell Stuckey, all energetic. I'm starting to get all sleepy and tired after a while, and he's still the same person as he was when he came in. I mean, dude, do you get tired man? Where does he get this energy?

"I've probably never seen anybody like Darrell Stuckey."

Yes, energy and a vibrant personality. They're characteristics Stuckey has prided himself on since even before he was a four-sport standout at Washington High in Kansas City, Kan.

"I feel like I don't make a whole team, but I feel like I can help the environment that it practices in," Stuckey said. "My energy and my determination and just the love for the game is going to influence others. I'm not saying I'm the best player, but I think I'm a very competitive player that betters the people around me."

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore has used that mentality to play an integral role in leading KU - ranked 14th nationally in total defense - to an 11-1 record and a Jan. 3 Orange Bowl date against Virginia Tech. Stuckey has started at safety in zall 12 games this season for the Jayhawks, recording 66 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Those numbers led to an honorable mention nod on the All-Big 12 squad.

"I think the best part of his game is he's aggressive," KU wide receiver Marcus Henry said. "He'll come and hit you if he needs to, and he'll play in coverage when he needs to. He just reads the field very well."

For as much of an impact as Stuckey has made on the gridiron at KU, the outgoing and upbeat local product admitted there was a time when he thought nobody wanted to take a chance on him because of where he came from.

"Washington High School is not a school that is very recognized for athletics because it is deprived of a lot of the facilities or the weight room to get the kids strong enough or even the discipline and the dedication by most of the students," Stuckey said. "Just being from Wyandotte County, there's not too many people that come out of there (to play Division I sports). There's a lot of crime where I'm from."

As a WHS junior, Stuckey was named offensive player of the year as a wide receiver and running back and team MVP for his high school football team. No scholarship offers followed. He played basketball during the winter and waited to hear from schools about football. Still nothing. Finally, in June before his senior year, he received his first scholarship offer during baseball season.

It was from KU football coach Mark Mangino.

"Nobody even thought about offering me anything until after that," Stuckey said. "Usually the person who offers you first is the one who wants you the most and is willing to do what it takes to keep you. Instead of just wanting you for depth on their roster. I felt like I could come here and fulfill my own destiny and make my own footprints.

"It was something I think that God really fulfilled for me."

Enthusiastic. Humble. Loyal. Three qualities that define Stuckey off the field and make him a valuable asset to the Jayhawks on it. Now, he gets to display them for all to see on one of the biggest stages in KU football history. It's a football program that, like Stuckey, wasn't lauded with much national attention two years ago.

Upon being informed that the Jayhawks would be playing in their first BCS bowl game, Stuckey said his initial thoughts went back to what it took for him to reach this point.

"I was like 'I can't believe I made it,'" Stuckey said. "It's one of those things that as a little kid, you just look on TV and be like, 'Man, that's amazing. I wonder how it feels just to be a part of something like that?' Just growing up and seeing how your life plays out and seeing yourself in the same situation, playing for that bowl, that feeling is just amazing and it makes you speechless."

Comments

Mangino_Maniac 11 years, 9 months ago

Nice article on Darrell... congrats on all your successes Darrell, and can't wait to see you and the rest of the squad on January 3rd!!

One observation about the LJW though... I think their writers are slipping - shouldn't the headline have read: "Teammates troubled about Stuckey's energy level" ;-)

NH_JHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

In order to beat VT we'll need guys to make big plays and force turnovers. Guys like Stuckey and Talib could be the key to winning this based on their ability to provide solid coverage, make tackles, and force a critical INT. So keep up the high energy Darrell and leave it ALL on the field Jan 3.

11 years, 9 months ago

"Stuckey's Open for Business"

Nice story on a great kid. Those thoughts by Darrell at the end are recruiting gold.

Seth Peattie 11 years, 9 months ago

Great work, DSTUCK!!!!!! Take your game to the Hokies in Miami.

Rock Chalk, America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin Long 11 years, 9 months ago

If we win this game it will put us on the map in college football. If we lose, or especially get blown out, it will look real bad. We won't be able to beg a ranking next year if it gets ugly.

Don't get me wrong though, I think we can win the game and and can't wait!

kevbo 11 years, 9 months ago

Nice article, I've been a fan of this kid all year on the field. Sounds like he's solid off the field too. Great story out of Wash High.

KU 11 years, 9 months ago

klong......Let's be positive. VaTech has a great defense, so they may be able to hold us down. But I don't think their offense is that good. I can't see them scoring over 28 or so on us, can you?

okjhok 11 years, 9 months ago

If VT puts 28 on the board, KU loses. That said, I can't see VT putting up 28. Of course, crazy things always happen in bowl games, so go ahead and throw those previous comments out the window.

seattlehawk_78 11 years, 9 months ago

A good player that no one wanted. Where have I heard that story?

Dirk Medema 11 years, 9 months ago

Nice article. Great Guy. There was a cool article on Stuckey when he was in HS after he signed, tho I think that was by the Star. It has made me look forward to him suceeding ever since, and great to see him healthy this year.

VT's O won't score 28 pts. The key may be limiting the scoring by their D & ST's. Along those lines, the line play (both ways) is likely to be key. Hopefully, AC and JMac (Resby & Harper too) are both healed and 100% ready for action.

Kevin Long 11 years, 9 months ago

I think our offense will be able to score on their D. I wasn't trying to be negative. I truly think we stand a great chance. I just know how the media will tear them apart if it doesn't go well. I don't want them to take away from the great season that we've all enjoyed so much.

bmcmich1 11 years, 9 months ago

The key as I see it will be special teams.

Our offense is a lot better than theirs.

Their defense is better than ours.

To me, that equals a pretty close game with us possibly having a slight advantage. The difference in that type of game is special teams; if we are stupid and give up a couple big plays or TDs on special teams, we immediately lose that slight advantage. We have GOT to take extra precaution with special teams.

100 11 years, 9 months ago

Great job LJW. Three days in a row of Football lead stories. A lot to write about in the next few weeks regarding our football team. Basketball lead stories can wait until Jan. 4th. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

scootja32 11 years, 9 months ago

I am pretty sure that a football story will be on the front page on Jan 4th. Just a wild guess, but I'm quite confident that I'm right.

NH_JHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

I heard an interview on satellite radio today with VT's QB Sean Glennon. He rotates in and out with Tyrod Taylor...dual QBs. He admits he's "not as crisp" with his receivers as he was during ACC championship due to the long break. He also admited that other than Talib and Collins, he doesn't "know much about KU's defense." Not that VT wont study tape and get a scouting report but given the long break and the fact that they need TWO QB's to be sharp...I think that favors KU. I agree with earlier posts...if VT scores 28, KU might be in trouble.

scootja32 11 years, 9 months ago

If he said that he doesn't know much about KU's defense other than Collins and Talib then he probably doesn't know much at all. Collins is on offense.

scootja32 11 years, 9 months ago

I can't find these quotes anywhere. Can you please provide a link.

FlaHawk 11 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if he is related to John Stucky from Moundridge, KS and Hutch JUCO. He was an All-American at K-Sate during 1968-69 seasons and a long time coach at places and Head Coaches like, WSU, OSU (Jimmie Johnson), Arkansas (Lou Holtz), NC State (Monte Kiffin) and finally Tennessee (Phil Fulmer)?

actorman 11 years, 9 months ago

If you've spelled John Stucky correctly, then it's unlikely that Darrell Stuckey would be related to him.

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

It will be a GREAT Orange Bowl ... that's for sure!

Rick Arnoldy 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm enjoying these profile stories. Knowing the players as human beings makes the Jayhawk connection special.

DSommersby 11 years, 9 months ago

I am really glad Stuckey is a Jayhawk!!!

He has been a playmaker on defense and you can tell he keeps getting better too!

CasperCorps 11 years, 9 months ago

He's got a football players name.. Ahhh you got Stuckied

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