Darien Donald is official per Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat

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The JSW Level
Cahokia standout picks Indiana State
Injury forced Donald to miss 2008 season

BY DEAN CRIDDLE - News-Democrat

CAHOKIA -- The high school football career of Cahokia senior Darien "Doc" Donald will have a happy ending after all.

The 6-foot, 180-pound former all-state quarterback, who sat out the entire 2008 season with a knee injury, will sign a National Letter of Intent today to attend and play football at Indiana State.

This is the first day area Division I and Division II football, soccer and track recruits can sign national letters of intent.

"I'm excited and looking forward to getting back on the football field," Donald said. "I feel good about the future, and Indiana State is a place where I can play and get a great education.

"I'm anxious to make up for lost time. I'm anxious to redeem myself."

Once considered one of the top college recruits in the St. Louis area, Donald suffered an injury to his left knee during a summer 7-on-7 camp last June at Indiana State.

Donald then sat out the entire season and had surgery last fall to repair the damage. He also is sitting out the Comanches' basketball season.

The injury caused several Division I programs such as Purdue and Northern Illinois to back off from recruiting Donald.

"Doc was really down about not being able to play and that schools backed off of him when he got hurt," Comanches coach Antwyne Golliday said. "I just told him to do what he had to in order to get the knee healthy and that I would do what I needed to do to get him a scholarship to play football.

"It's been tough on both of us, but now he's going to get a free education while playing football."

Also one of the state's top track and field athletes as well as the 2008 Class AA 400 meter state champion, Donald will also be a member of the Sycamores' track and field program.

The starting quarterback for the Comanches during his first three years, Donald was one of the top players in the South Seven Conference. His junior season, Donald threw for more than 1,300 yards and 15 scores.

Even though he was unable to play in 2008, Donald was instrumental in the development of Patrick Ivy at quarterback. The Comanches won the South Seven Conference title and reached the Class 5A state semifinals.

At Indiana State, Donald will be used as a wingback.

"They recruited me as an athlete, but I've been told I'll probably play wingback on offense," Donald said. "That's fine with me. I just want to play."

Donald still is rehabilitating his knee and is now able to jog with no pain while also working out in the weight room to make the knee stronger.

"We're not rushing him. We're going slow and hope that he will ready to compete later this spring in track and field," Golliday said. "Nobody remembers how you start the season, but they do remember what happens later in the year. Our goal is for him to run when he's ready to compete.

Like I said, we're in no hurry. His health and his future comes first."