Anderson County’s Darion Dearinger, an All-State DE by any definition (featured Photo: Melissa Klink Photography)

When it comes to voting on the All-State team (AP), we nominate guys positionally for inclusion. What we mean by that is, when the AP asks for five offensive linemen, we nominate a center, two guards, and two tackles.

The way we treat it is who would we want if this “mythical team” were going to play a game against another team and we really, really wanted to win. When we are asked for 4 defensive linemen, for instance, we give two DEs and two interior guys for the mythical defensive line. We nominate two safeties and two corners for the back end, so on and so forth.

Our criteria is a simple one. To be nominated by us for the first-team, it means we believe this player is good enough to transfer anywhere in Kentucky and be first-team wherever he lands, at the position where he is being nominated.

With that as a working criteria, which isn’t going to change (by the way), we will feature, from now through the opening of the ballot, players we believe fit that bill. We will start with a DE from Anderson County for which there will be little (to any) debate. We give you Darion Dearinger from Anderson County.

Photo Credit: Norman Brimm

Not all of the players we nominate are college prospects. The determination as to whether the player is or isn’t a college prospect calls on one to evaluate how good he will be one day. It is similar to a beauty-contestant in the swim-suit competition portion of a beauty pageant. Sure, the Miss America pageant evaluates other things besides a contestant’s looks; but you never see plain looking contestants advancing very far.

Recruiting services grade recruits much in the same way. Is the prospect a certain height, a certain weight, does he run a certain speed? What is his shuttle-time? How long are his arms and legs? Is his neck long and slender or short and stocky? Is he high or low-waisted? Some colleges are measuring hands, feet, and head circumference now.

We might say, “But Mr. Recruiting Service Evaluator, he hasn’t made but seven tackles all year, or he doesn’t start for his HS team…” Their response is, “So what? He looks good coming off the bus, he has the frame and athleticism to be good at football one day, maybe soon (or maybe not ever).”

I attended high school with a basketball player with an over 40-inch vertical who was 6-3 and weighed 205-pounds. He was well-muscled up and, with that vertical, had to have been both fast and quick in space.

He could have gone to a combine and left with an offer just to look at him. He never played a single down of HS football in our four years together.

There are recruiting services which exist to judge the “swim-suit” competition of the Friday night pageantry we call high school football. We are not they.

We reward the game’s “meat and potatoes.” Who performs under the lights? Who is good on Friday nights? Who makes their teams perform better just because they are in the line-up?

Darion Dearinger, at 6-4, 255 pounds, may even win the “swim-suit competition,” but that isn’t why we will nominate him. He’s holding offers from Bowling Green, Eastern Kentucky, and Marshall’s “Thundering Herd,” with Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Indiana in the mix and about to offer (literally) anytime, but that isn’t why he’s getting our nomination either.

Dearinger is getting nominated, by us, because he is a problem for which opposing offenses have to game-plan. He’s good enough to beat an opponent alone, if the other team lets him. He’s good at playing the game of football!

They run the football away from him every game, every play. Still, through seven games, Dearinger has compiled 47 total tackles, 37 of which have been solos, with 19 tackles in the backfield with 7 QB sacks. He has done that with everybody in the commonwealth of Kentucky knowing he’s there, knowing to block him with the Tackle, the TE, and a back chipping him from out of the backfield. He has done this with every opponent conscious they have to run away from him.

Simply put, Darion Dearinger goes straight into any starting lineup in Kentucky’s high school ranks immediately upon relocating and regardless of who is presently stationed there. We might also mention, if one were looking for a “play-alike” kind of End, on defense, who has may similar playing characteristics and has literally come on the scene from out of nowhere, we also recommend looking at Breathitt County’s 6-5, 240-pound DE, Caden Hogg. We will have more on him as these features continue to roll-along.

When nominations open, for the AP All-State football team, we will place the name of Darion Dearinger into nomination for inclusion on the first team. If you are wondering why, please re-read the foregoing.

Reporting for KPGFootball, this is HB Lyon, reminding all of you ballers out there that #WeGotUCovered and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!

If you enjoyed this article and wish to gain full-access to the site, then subscribe monthly to Kentucky Prep Gridiron by following the prompts!

Leave a Reply