TEMPE, Ariz. – For many Sun Devil athletes, spring football is almost considered a formality. For seniors, the sentiment holds particularly true.
“Being here, being in the program for four years, going through this so many times it’s like stealing candy from a baby,” senior safety Alden Darby said.
However for Darby, this spring has a different feel. With the departure of Arizona State University mainstays Brandon Magee, Deveron Carr, Keelan Johnson and Cameron Marshall, Darby is expected to pick up the slack as a leader both on and off the field.
“I love it," Darby proclaimed. "I love to take it on and take the responsibility of leading the whole entire team.”
And leading the team is a responsibility Darby is more than ready to embrace.
“I don’t fear having people behind me," he said. "I’m not afraid to win the Pac-12 or lose the Pac-12 for my team. I’m going to take full responsibility for it.”
Nonetheless, there is one area where the always-confident safety has his reserves -- having one final year to leave his legacy on Arizona State.
“I texted Omar [Bolden, former ASU corner now with the Broncos] and told him I feel pressure.” Darby explained. “I said I feel a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I feel nervous. He said, ‘Why?’ I said, 'Man, because this is my last year. It’s either NFL or get a job. I know I have to go out there and perform. I’m just nervous because what if I don’t.' He told me, ‘Just relax. You prepared yourself; you are fine.’
"To hear those words from him just calmed me down," Darby continued. "So, I’m not nervous anymore and I’m just going to go out there and play my game like I know how to play.”