Second chance: Darren Carrington II’s focus, work ethic gave him opportunity for redemption

SALT LAKE CITY — Darren Carrington Sr. was confused by the text from his son in early July.

“He texted me and said, ‘Dad, call Utah,’” Carrington Sr. said of his son, Darren Carrington II, who’d just been dismissed from Oregon’s football program after an arrest for DUI on July 1. “I was thinking it was so random.”

He knew his son had a couple of friends in the program, but he didn’t even know who to call. After emailing one of the players, he found his way to the Utes newly hired offensive coordinator Troy Taylor.

Despite the devastation of being dismissed from a program he’d wanted to play for since he was a freshman in high school, neither father or son felt hopeless about his options.

“I knew there was potentially a chance,” said Carrington Sr. “I was super thankful that because of his focus, and to me, it was amazing that he graduated in three and a half years. That afforded him the opportunity.”

His son said he was willing to go to an FCS school if he had to in order to play his senior season.

“I just kept faith and just kept working,” he said. “I knew there was an opportunity that would come and I wanted to take full advantage of it.”

Carrington II said he had interest from several other schools, but it all very quickly turned into a one-horse race when he and his father met Utah wide receivers coach Guy Holliday.

“Probably most of it,” he said, smiling, when asked if that was what clinched his decision to play for Utah, “All of it. Just how real he is and how well he knows receivers. I wanted to go somewhere that I could be coached and learn more about playing my position. So I thought he was the right man.” His father, who played in the NFL, said he wanted more than a great coach or another opportunity to play football.

“I wanted somebody who was going to invest in him beyond football,” the father of three said. “We met (Holliday) and the first time we met…we talked for 40-45 minutes and maybe we talked about football for five minutes. So that box was checked. I thought, ‘This is the guy who is going to be working with my son on a personal level. I feel good with him being under his leadership.’”

Holliday said one of the toughest aspects of the transfer was the way the story was portrayed in the media. Without knowing all the facts — or…

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