It’s been a whirlwind ride for Darius Cummings and on Saturday it’ll all come to a close in the place he finally found to belong.
Cummings began to gain football accolades while still in high school at Astronaut High School in Titusville, Florida then he took off as the first commit to FSU’s 2010 signing class.
Five games and an arthroscopic knee surgery later, Darius made the choice to transfer to Eastern Mississippi Community College in Scooba, MS where the towns population could fill the football stadium eight times. The stadium holds 5,000.
After a year in Scooba, honing his craft, it was back to the Sunshine State but this time as Florida Gator.
During his time in Gainesville, Cummings has become a solid piece to a stifling defense; earning himself 27 total tackles, two sacks and six quarterback hurries. He’s also been an integral part of a defensive line that has held opponents to an average of 113 rushing yards per game.
For many, Cummings most memorable moment came in 2013 versus Tennessee when he caught an interception off a tipped pass. After chugging 30 yards of field, he had a field of no one but Gators in front of him for the big man pick 6; well until teammate Dominque Easley tried to hurry him along. Too much momentum and Darious instead fell to the ground instead but no one seemed to care as teammates ran down field to congratulate the new guy on the block for making his name known.
One of those teammates was Dante Fowler Jr., who says it’s been a great experience playing with Darious, but he’s come to mean so much more to him off the field.
“He gave me a lot of advice through the years,” Fowler remembers. “One piece of advice you know, Darious always told me, he was like, ‘No matter what people think of you, you are your own person. You’re yourself. Express yourself and always believe in yourself no matter what people say of you or think of you.’ So that’s something I always stick with Darious.”
Something else has stuck with Darious and that’s his nickname Bear. As a child, his dad began calling him Teddy Bear. As a 305 lb lineman with an ever-present smile, the name seems fitting. He can be ferocious when the time comes though, as the numbers above indicate.
Defensive Coordinator D.J. Durkin credits Cummings with playing his best football his senior year, even saying, “Our D-line has been very productive this season and I think a lot of that has to do with him.”
The defensive line still has at least two more games before having to find Cummings replacement, but on Saturday he’ll get to play in The Swamp with his boys one last time.
It’s been a whirlwind ride for Darious Cummings, from Titusville to Tallahassee to Scooba and most likely is only getting started. But he has found a place to belong in Gainesville and will graduate a Gator.