Blue Light Special Series: Norman”Tookie”Darden

By: William Carroll

WC:have had the pleasure of watching your career during your time at Seton Hill University. What would you say are the 5 biggest and best lessons you’ve learned on your journey?

ND: 1. Put God First, Remain in your Faith!
2. Hard work beats talent
3. Discipline
4. Time Management
5. Attention to Detail

WC: The next question, you played for Ray Evans at Eisenhower High School. Tell me about the program and your coach.

ND: The program is rich with football talent, tradition, and pride. He was a very disciplined coach who wanted to win but tried to develop boys into men.

WC:  Who were your major rivals in High School and College?

ND: Aldine High School
Nimitz High School
And Slippery Rock University

WC: Your home area is loaded with talent Craig Loston- High school Teammate #1 Safety class of 2009/LSU and Kenneth Guiton High school Quarterback who played at the University of Ohio State to name a few who are some of the best players you played with or against while you were in college, high school or growing up?

ND: The Best Players:
Josh Huff/ Nimitz High school/University of Oregon/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marion Grice/Nimitz High School/Arizona St.
Ricky Collins/Wide Receiver/ Kilgore College/CFL
Aaron Murray/Plant High School/Georgia Bulldogs

WC: What was your recruitment process like, who was interested and how did you choose your school?

ND: [Beginning at] Kilgore College, [later], transferred to Texas Tech University, [and finally] to Seton Hill University.

WC: What were the best games and the biggest plays you made as a high school player?

ND: Best Game 2 touchdowns vs. MacArthur High School
Best Play 11th Grade Year vs. MacArthur High School

WC: What was you big “Welcome to College Football” Moment?

ND: [A game with], 8 catches 100+ yards 3 Touchdowns against Fairmont St.

WC:  What is your current height/weight and what are your testing numbers?

5’6” 162 pounds
Bench Press 18 Reps
40-yard dash: 4.4 seconds

WC: How have the systems and staffs at your school impacted your development?

1. Recognizing and knowing all defense schemes and different blitzes.
2. Knowing the difference between man and zone coverage
3. Learning the weaknesses or soft spots in every defense scheme
4. Learning hot routes to beat different blitzes
5. Practicing different press releases to beat man to man coverage
6. Practicing various of formations and learning each offensive position through quizzes/film/repetition
7. It has developed me to make a smoother transition to the NFL’s playbook complexities than most college wide receivers

WC: Which coaches have had the greatest impact on you and why?

ND: Coach Bowie from my high school, Instilled various information and training methods to help develop me into the player I am today.
WC: How hard was to adjust to the verbiage, system, and playbook and when did you feel 100% comfortable?

ND: It didn’t take long to learn my position and the specific assignments I had. But year 3, I went from Outside Receiver to the slot and found myself learning the whole offense and each position and plays with great detail. I even knew the quarterback’s read system.

WC:  Who have been your favorite teammates, and why?
ND: Nick Boynton middle linebacker for Seton Hill University, [we] developed a great relationship and chemistry on and off the field. He persevered and worked relentlessly every day to become one of the best linebackers in the country in my opinion. One of the hardest workers I have ever come across!

WC: Who have been your favorite opponents and why?

ND: Slippery Rock University, they are always the hunted and not the hunter. [They] definitely bring swagger to the field and are usually conference champions every year. And expect to win no matter what and play the game with school passion and pride.

WC:  If you could put together a list of your favorite players to watch or emulate, who is on that list and why?


Tom Brady- The Best to ever play the game
1. Steve Smith- His mentality and toughness as a player. The ability to dominant at outside receiver only being 5’9 is really impressive
2. Antonio Brown- His route running ability is amongst the greatest and arguably the most consistent wide receiver in the NFL. Hard Work pays off
3. Deion Sanders- The flash and swagger he brought to the game. The best entertainer and DB to lace them up.
4. Randy Moss- Speed Kills! The G.O.A.T at Wide Receiver.
5. Devin Hester- The greatest returner of all time, was an honor and pleasure watching
6. Barry Sanders- Started emulating his ability to make a defender miss at an early age
7. Tyrann Mathieu- The little engine that could. Love his physicality and passion as a player
Odell Beckham Jr.- What can’t he do on the field. The most complete player in the game!

WC: What NFL teams are your favorites and why?

ND: Whatever team that wants to give me a chance and utilize me to help win a championship!
WC:  Which NFL players do you think your game most closely resembles and why?

1. Darren Sproles because we have similar statures
2. Antonio Brown because I can run all the routes in the route tree
3. Tyreek Hill because I have the speed and ability to go the distance anywhere on the field

WC: When football is over what would you like to do with your education?

ND: Be a football coach on the collegiate or pro level. I love the game!

WC: Finally if you could go back in time to talk to 17-year-old you, what would you tell him?

ND: To work smarter not harder.

WC: And what would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

ND: Put a lot more time in the weight room and classroom in high school.

WC: What [if any] is/are your nickname[s] and how did you get it/them?

ND: Tookie short for the Tookie Monster, given to me by my uncle. Actually came from my favorite show Sesame Street and favorite character the Cookie Monster. The name rhymed. I responded when he said it and the rest is history.

William Carroll
About William Carroll 33 Articles
am now in my fourth decade as a published writer. The Answer Newspaper first carried my sports column over 30 years ago; additionally, I am a published poet, playwright, and military historian. I am a founding member of MPAACT. I have also written for Black Sports Online, Football Reporters Online, and oversaw HBCU Scouting for Consensus Draft Services. Currently, Consensus Draft Services is in a content providing relationship with My broadcasting career is also long established. I have co-hosted “Local Color” on WEFT, “The Draft-Tastic 4,” and the Sports Chronicles Radio Network. I hosted “Feeling A Draft” and CDS “Pro Prospects Radio.” I have also taught broadcasting at Kennedy-King College.

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