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The day that Dareke Young put himself into the NFL Draft conversation
Seaside Joe 1158: A career-day against Mars Hill...if you were lucky enough to watch it
One of the first things you notice when you watch the full broadcast of a football game between Lenoir-Rhyne and Mars Hill on the Bears Sports Network is that you won’t get the same angles you’re used to in the pro or major college versions.
The football is mostly the same football—more errors than usual, fewer completed passes and explosive plays—but then suddenly parts of the scoreboard graphic will suddenly disappear and you aren’t even sure what the score is unless you remember:
But something I didn’t notice a lot of through the first quarter and a half of this game was Dareke Young. It would be great for someone to ask Pete Carroll or John Schneider what the scouting process is like for players at Division-II programs as compared to those schools where you can actually—ya know—see the players.
Sometimes you get all-22 footage for football. In this case, sometimes you’re lucky to see some-10 or almost-15. Somewhere at the bottom of this GIF, you’ll see Young make his second catch of the game.
It was in this contest against Mars Hill that Young supplied most of the beef for his NFL stew. In a season in which he finished with 25 catches for 303 yards and four touchdowns, Young had eight grabs for 160 yards and three scores against the school I’ve referred to as MHU since I first became aware of them.
*Since a few minutes ago.
There are plenty of good reasons why Young wasn’t the second-coming of Cooper Kupp during his four-year career with Lenoir-Rhyne. He finished with 73 career catches for 1,176 yards and 16 touchdowns, plus 88 carries for 658 rushing yards and another eight touchdowns, in large part to the Wing-T offense, injuries, the pandemic, and probably a lack of quality quarterback play.
However, I do find it a bit interesting that a school like Lenoir-Rhyne falls backwards into a future seventh round draft pick and somehow didn’t manage to feed the ball to him on every play. Oh, you run the Wing-T now? Football is about players, not schemes. Out of five contests in 2021, Young went over 53 yards only once. He scored a touchdown in only one other game outside of Mars Hill.
It makes me wonder what the number one reason was for keeping the ball out of his hands, a question I find to be more important than “How did he wind up at Lenoir-Rhyne to begin with?”
(Young says it had to do with a broken leg in high school, but logically speaking that can only be one of a combination of reasons.)
If Lenoir-Rhyne’s player bio for Young can be believed more than its own scoreboard, then he mostly ditched carrying the football after the 2019 season. Comparisons to Deebo Samuel have much more to do with the currently popularity of the San Francisco 49ers star than the probable future of any of the many players in this draft who were compared to him, but at least Young did run the run at one point.
As a receiver, his body of work is less impressive than his body at work: 6’2, 220 lbs, a 4.47 40-yard dash, a 1.57 10-yard split, a 4.19 short shuttle, 37” vertical, 11’3” broad, and 10.15” hands.
But against Mars Hill last season, Young broke through for a game that perhaps could be why Seattle made sure to acquire an extra seventh round pick and then use it on him to keep him off of the UDFA market. Here are the other seven grabs he had against UMH (Full Game)
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Young picks it up off the turf
Inaccurate throws were a common theme of this game. QB Grayson “Not McCall” Willingham completed 63% of his passes last season for 2,736 yards, 22 TD, and 9 INT.
With a lot of these plays, I just don’t know what useful commentary would be. Young wasn’t necessarily drafted for his film and on this play, he makes the catch (10/10, great job) and pushes for the first down (10/10).
Again, this is not a replay. This is how the play originally aired.
Nifty footwork on the sideline-but Flag wipes it out
NFL speed scores TD vs Div-II defense
Really it has more to do with offensive linemen getting down field and setting up his blocks, but Dareke Young bursts through the hole for his first touchdown of the game, giving LR a 14-0 lead (I think).
I can’t emphasize enough how far below NFL level competition this game appears to be. It doesn’t mean that players do not transition to the pros—Young’s former teammate Kyle Duggar was a second round pick of the Patriots—but this is much different football than what we’re used to.
I hadn’t heard the term “Wing-T” since my high school team in Bellevue.
Post Route TD
It seems so odd to me that LR wouldn’t just run this play… on every play.
Earlier, Dareke Young dropped a pass but the reason I didn’t GIF it is because it was literally off-screen. This is a two-camera operation. In fact, I interviewed the director and asked for a demonstration of how game day works in the booth:
Not even sure it’s fair to call these “tackles” but Young slams through what may come and paints another 40 or so yards on his stat sheet.
A couple plays later, Young finishes what he started and finds the edge for his third touchdown of the game.
Playing at Lenoir-Rhyne or Mars Hill, you’re just lucky if someone doesn’t confuse your school for a megachurch, let alone getting ESPN Gameday to show up at your door step or a highlight on SportsCenter. Therefore, Dareke Young didn’t get the same amenities that many of his draft mates at receiver have had over the last 3-5 years. Perhaps a change of scenery and the opportunity to play with professionals can unlock the gifts that FBS programs failed to see when he was coming out of high school in 2017.
But if Young were to somehow start every regular season game this year, he would tie Charles Johnson for the 7th-most CAREER starts by any wide receiver drafted in the seventh round during the 21st century. That’s how insanely difficult it is to go from the seventh round to stardom; Marques Colston, Julian Edelman, and Steven Johnson are the only three receivers from the seventh round in the last 15 years to start more than 40 career games.
David Moore, Seattle’s most successful seventh round receiver, appeared in 50 games and made 14 starts over five years, placing him just behind Charles Johnson on that list.
The Seahawks doubled down on seventh round receivers, also picking Bo Melton out of Rutgers.
But nobody’s asking Dareke Young to break the mold for seventh rounders or to become the next Doug Baldwin, himself once an undrafted free agent who shattered expectations. The first step is getting off of the Bears Sports Network and into the NFL. He’s already broken the mold. The rest of what we get out of Dareke Young is purely a bonus.
What did you think of his breakout game against Mars Hill? Do you expect more career carries than career catches? Let me know in the comments!