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UVA football alum Devin Darrington making the most out of XFL opportunity

Chris Graham
devin darrington
Photo: XFL

Devin Darrington has a degree from Harvard, dreams of a career in law – maybe sports law – but the long-term plans there are on hold as he chases another dream: pro football.

Darrington, who played as a grad transfer in 2021 at Virginia, is working this spring with the XFL’s Orlando Guardians, and despite missing the first three games of the spring season with a hamstring injury, he ranks sixth in the league in rushing, with his most recent game, Saturday’s 25-23 loss at San Antonio, his best – he ran for 133 yards on 16 carries.



It’s been a tough sled for Darrington, whose senior season at Harvard, in 2020, was lost when the Ivy League canceled its fall season due to the COVID pandemic.

Then his 2021 season at Virginia didn’t work out quite the way he’d hoped.

“I was only in the transfer portal for a week actually. At the time when I was looking, they didn’t really, you know, have a lot of ton of running backs. So, I thought, you know, it was a great opportunity to work on my masters, and still play, you know, ACC football and play running back,” Darrington said.

“But you know, when I got there, I mean, we didn’t really run the ball as much as I thought we would. But, you know, I still made the most out of every carry, and, you know, I was grateful for my time and experience there,” Darrington said.

No, Virginia, in the Robert Anae years, didn’t give much run to its backs. Darrington got 32 carries and just 47 snaps in Anae’s pass-first, -second and -third offense, but as he said, he made the most out of every touch, averaging 7.4 yards per carry, showcasing the mix of power and speed that got him a rookie-camp invite from the Kansas City Chiefs last spring.

When that didn’t work out in the form of a full-time gig, Darrington kept his focus on staying in shape to make another run at an NFL job in 2023.

Robert Ford, who had helped Darrington prepare for his pro day last spring, was named the offensive coordinator by the Guardians ahead of the inaugural XFL season, and when he reached out to Darrington to gauge his interest in a job, Darrington jumped at the opportunity.

“I’m excited to play in the XFL. I’m really excited just to play ball again,” Darrington said. “You know, I had that year from Harvard when COVID happened, so I had to sit out a long time with that. And then, you know, from the pro day and Kansas City Chiefs rookie camp, I kind of had a little gap with that. So, I was just really excited to just get back on the field. I was grateful for the opportunity that the Guardians gave me, and you know, just trying to show that every weekend.”

The hamstring injury that he suffered in the last week of training camp delayed the start of his season, but Darrington feels like he’s in his groove now.

“When opportunity and preparation meet, you know, great things happen,” Darrington said. “The season’s been going well for me. Just focusing on finishing up strong in the last game and just going out with a bang.”

The NFL is still a goal, and it should help that Darrington has film for front offices to pore over that shows what he can do.

“I’m giving my all, and I have a lot to prove, you know, that I can show, so that’s definitely the goal,” Darrington said. “But if not, you know, I’m just grateful to play football at any level. You know, if I need to come back to the XFL, I’ll do that. You know, the NFL is a goal, but also playing in the XFL is not a bad thing.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].