Jan. 14, 2004
PULLMAN, Wash. --- Washington State junior wide receiver Devard Darling announced Wednesday that he will forego his senior season and enter his name in April's NFL Draft.
"This is a lifelong dream for my brother and I," Darling said. "I see this opportunity right in front of my face and in this life you never know what is going to happen. I'm going to take it and run with it."
Darling cited the opportunity to become the first player from the Bahamas to be drafted as a key element in the decision. He was joined at the 2 p.m. press conference by cousin Frank Rutherford, a bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, media members from Nassau, and the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture in the Bahamas, Neville Wisdom.
"His family is very special in the Bahamas. This is a special time. I came to show support on behalf of the government and the people of the country," Wisdom said. "We see every Washington State game that is played in the Bahamas. He is a household name in our country."
Darling was on track to challenge several WSU career receiving records. In just two seasons he racked up 104 receptions for 1,630 yards and 18 touchdowns. He leaves the Palouse with the blessing of Cougar Head Coach Bill Doba.
"Devard has been an outstanding student-athlete here at Washington State and I want to wish him all the best and a lot of luck at the next level," Doba said. "We are sorry to see him leave. I just want to thank him for all of his contributions the past two years."
Darling, who began his collegiate football career at Florida State, helped lead the Cougars to a share of the Pac-10 championship and the Rose Bowl in 2002 and a Holiday Bowl win over Texas in 2003. WSU compiled a 20-5 record during his two seasons.
The 6-3, 215-pound pass catcher had his best game in 2002 against Oregon, bringing in seven receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns, including a dramatic, tipped, jump ball that resulted in a 46-yard score.
The 2004 NFL Draft will be held April 24-25.