DANVILLE — Opposing teams and coaches have started asking Danville's Darrien Rose when he's going to graduate.
"When I tell them that I have another year left, people are surprised,'' said Rose, a junior, who will be making his 28th start for the Vikings' defensive line. "It's been a great to be a part of this team and this program. I never thought that I would play varsity football, let along start in my freshman season.''
That's right, the 6-foot-2, 301-pound defensive lineman, has been a starter since his first game in the Danville program.
"We were really struggling to find a person to play the nose guard position, to fill out the defensive line,'' Danville coach B.J. Luke "I saw this big ol' freshman kid jogging around the track. I asked some of the coaches, why couldn't he play for us?
"We watched him move and he was moving better than some of our older kids. He really stepped up and with the confidence he gained from the other kids that accepted him — he became a key component of our defensive line.''
In his three varsity seasons, Rose has recorded 151 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and three sacks — not bad for someone playing on the interior defensive line.
"It seems like I've been on the varsity football roster for 10 years,'' Rose admitted. "There have been a lot of ups and downs, and that first year, making it to the Class 6A Quarterfinals, was amazing.''
And how did he feel, playing against guys that were two and three years older than him?
"It was nerve-wracking and intense,'' he said. "I was nervous, scared, anxious, just a little bit of everything. But, it was a great team to be on, because there were a bunch of great leaders.''