For the 2020-2021 school year, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity football team has welcomed junior Al Jacob “AJ” Darring as their new running back. Darring will have his debut performance as an MSD Eagle at the 2020 Spring home game in May.
Darring, a transfer student from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, has been playing football for approximately seven years and has consistently trained not only with his team, but also by attending private conditionings and football clinics. Not to mention at Booker T. Washington, Darring was also a part of the Varsity team and helped lead them towards an undefeated 13 game streak, leaving them as the sixth overall best team in Florida.
“I’ve been playing since I was in fifth grade and never stopped since,” Darring said.
Darring’s inspiration to start playing football arose from his personal curiosity about the game, as well as inspiration from his loved ones, specifically his father.
“I played pretty much every sport but [football] was just a new sport to me that I just happened to be naturally good at, [also] my dad also played so that inspired me,” Darring said.
Darring obtained a spot on the varsity football team as a result of a personal connection and a drive for more playing time on the field.
“I played with Matt [O’Dowd, the varsity quarterback] in ninth grade and I saw a new opportunity to play since our seniors last year got a lot of playing time, and they also ran the ball up a lot,” Darring said.
Although the spring season has been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the team is excited for their upcoming 2020-2021 school year season where they will play with Darring as their running back.
“I’ve met all the football players and we got along pretty good, it’s just overall a good team with great kids,” Darring said.
Although fairly new, the team has high hopes of Darring’s abilities and are excited to see what he is able to bring to the team.
“From transferring in this past off-season I think that [Darring] will do damage on the field and be a huge impact on the team at running back and wherever else they use his talents at,” varsity wide receiver Jordan Beckermeister said.
With the help of Darring, the Eagles varsity football team wishes to surpass their 2019 season overall wins of eight games, and achieve an undefeated 2020 fall season. The addition of this new running back lifts the teams chances of making it to States in the fall and achieving a higher state ranking.