NORMAN — Trevor Knight and Ty Darlington met on their official visits during the 2011 season, became roommates and already assumed important leadership roles on the Oklahoma football team.
Darlington saw significant playing time as a true freshman on the offensive line last season, should get solid minutes in 2013 and then take over for Gabe Ikard as the Sooners’ starting center next year.
Knight, a redshirt freshman, was named Oklahoma’s starting quarterback for its 2013 season opener against Louisiana-Monroe, set for Aug. 31 on Owen Field.
But the close friends serve an important off-the-field role, too. Departed former Sooners Landry Jones and Tress Way passed the spiritual torch to Knight and Darlington, who lead team Bible study sessions.
“Last year, Landry and Tress were running all that stuff,” Darlington said. “Running FCA, running Bible study and that kind of stuff. I got to experience that first hand, and they sort of paired us to be the guys in the future to do that kind of stuff.
“I think it’s so important for our team. We’re young, and maybe we don’t have the experience on the field to be those guys, but it’s time for us to step up in that way.”
When Darlington, from Apopka, Fla., and Knight, from San Antonio, stayed in Norman for their official visits, they met because their hosts — Ikard and former OU quarterback Drew Allen, respectively — lived together.
The two newcomers decided to become roommates themselves. Knight’s brother, Connor, walked on and is now an OU redshirt freshman tight end, but the twins opted to split up their living situations in Norman.
“When you’re rooming with someone, spending that much time together, you tend to become pretty close,” Darlington said. “We just share a lot of the same experiences, the same beliefs and stuff. We’re just very similar people. That’s why we hit it off.”
Darlington spoke to reporters Monday, three days before coach Bob Stoops announced that Trevor Knight had won the quarterback battle.
That day, Darlington said he’d been impressed by his roommate’s preparation through the position battle with junior Blake Bell.
“He’s been preparing and I’ve seen it up close, how he prepares,” Darlington said. “I’ve been very impressed with how he’s handled the whole thing.”