Damien Darden didn’t waste much time hitting the eject button after realizing where he stood on NC State’s depth chart at tight end. He played in the first two games of the season because of attrition, but once Cary Angeline and Dylan Autenrieth became available, Darden stopped seeing the field.
We’ll see more and more players leaving programs early in the season, not simply because of the new NCAA redshirt rule, but because there’s not much point in wasting an entire season languishing as a third-stringer when you can go ahead and get that transfer clock ticking. (See Angeline’s situation, for instance. He’s not playing right now if he’d waited until the end of 2017 to leave USC.)
Guys are getting smarter about this, and I don’t blame Darden for moving on in search of a better opportunity. Sometimes you know it’s time to go ahead and leave in September, and that’s fine. I wish him all the best.